You’re almost done with your interview for your dream job and, in your eyes, you’re doing a pretty good job: you’ve provided pretty impressive answers to the hiring manager’s questions and you’re confident that they’re going to offer you this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on the spot.
You’re almost there, but there’s just one last thing you need to do, and that’s answer one last question – “Do you have any questions for me?” – with your own carefully prepared questions. Ask the right questions and you’ll give yourself a little nudge to the front of a very long line of job applicants. Ask the wrong ones –these 10 in particular – and you’re destined to fail.
1. How Much Does This Job Pay?
Asking this question too early into the hiring process will give hiring managers the impression that you only care about the money. You should, instead, make them think that you’re so in love with the job that money isn’t that much of an issue for you. Salary information should only be discussed when you’ve received an offer; anything sooner than that, and especially within the first five minutes of your interview, there most likely won’t even be an offer to celebrate, never mind a six-figure salary.
2. What Does Your Company Do?
This is the kind of question you ask when you haven’t done your homework, and it’s obvious to the interviewer that you haven’t. It’s of utmost importance that you research the company before you head in to that interview room because, in all likeliness, you’ll be asked to answer questions like “What do you know about our company?”
Preparation is key to a successful job interview, and if you haven’t made the effort of reading up on at least the company’s mission statement (which can be easily found on the company’s website), you’ll no doubt be ruled out as a suitable candidate.
3. How Soon Can I Take a Vacation After I Start Work?
You’ve barely been in the building five minutes and you’re already planning your vacation to Ibiza. Not only does this make you look unprofessional and, quite simply, that you’re not the most committed of candidates, it also gives the interviewer the impression that you’re only concerned about the benefits the job has to offer.
Even if you’ve already booked your flight to Ibiza, forget about mentioning your travel plans altogether in an interview and only notify the employer when you’ve been made a verbal offer and you have been marked as their “number one”.
4. How Quickly Can I Be Promoted?
We all want to advance in our careers, but asking this sort of question is a recipe for disaster. It merely signals that you’re not totally interested in the position you’re interviewing for and that you can hardly wait to move onto something bigger and better. It makes you sound arrogant and self-entitled; it just makes you stand out – but for all the wrong reasons. “What are some of the opportunities for professional growth within the company?” would be a much better question to ask instead.
5. What Is Your Internet Usage Policy?
While watching cat videos has been scientifically proven to boost productivity at work, blatantly asking about the company’s Internet usage policy, especially in an interview setting, creates the impression that you’ll be spending eight hours a day participating in bidding wars on eBay and sharing every Facebook-will-pay-$1-for-every-share-this-photo-gets post that you come across rather than getting any work done. And who in their right mind would want to hire someone who is the polar opposite of devoted, hardworking, enthusiastic, and self-motivated? Hint: no one.
6. Do You Do Background Checks?
Why, what do you have to hide?
Most companies do background checks on job candidates and it’s often part of the hiring process. Simply put, before an employer makes you an offer, they’ll want to make sure that you have a clean criminal record (and that you’re not some former serial killer) in addition to determining whether your skills and qualifications match those of the job.
Even if they don’t, you’ll quite possibly give them the incentive to perform a background check on you, and that arrest for breaking and entering that you so very tried to hide will surely, and unfortunately for you, come to light.
7. Do You Do Drug Tests?
If they didn’t already, they’ll start now, and they’ll start with you. In fact, it’s safe to assume that it would come back positive, so they might not even bother testing you for drugs. Asking the interviewer about the company’s drug use policy – or worse, how much notice they give employees before drug tests – automatically brands yourself as a weed-smoking hippie which only raises doubts about your candidacy.
8. How Many Warnings Do You Get Before Termination?
Unless you’re planning to make a lot of mistakes and break a lot of rules, avoid asking this question like the plague. It shows that you’re a sloppy worker and one who actively rebels against company policies and procedures – the complete opposite of an ideal employee. While some organizations usually fire recidivist employees after three warnings, they only need one warning not to hire you, and this is it.
9. Do You Check References?
If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is. It merely shows that you either don’t have any references and that you’ve probably rigged them or that you do have references but they don’t have anything good to say about you. It also makes you look very insecure. As checking a candidate’s references is an unwritten rule of any company’s hiring process, be sure that they will call yours to ascertain your work ethic and character. Meanwhile, don’t be too eager with offering up your references as you run the risk of looking desperate, and only provide them when they’re requested of you.
10. How Did I Do?
Confidence is a major turn-on for potential employers; insecurity, on the other hand, is not. And asking how you did will only be viewed as such. It’s understandable that you’d like to find out after the interview whether you’re a strong contender for the job, but asking something like this only puts the interviewer in an uncomfortable situation while you look desperate and unprofessional. A great alternative to this question would be “What are the next steps in the interview process?” which confirms your interest for the job and could help you determine when they’re likely to make a hiring decision.
Have you ever made the mistake of asking any of these questions in an interview? Perhaps you asked something else you shouldn’t that cost you your dream job and would like to share your experiences with us? Let us know in the comments section below!