"So, do you have any questions for me?" your interviewer asks.

Many candidates don't -- a huge mistake. You should pose a few questions to learn more about the position and workplace culture. You've got to play your cards right though. Ask the wrong question, and Barbara Corcoran won't even hire you.

In her career, the Shark Tank star and real estate mogul has interviewed thousands of people. Corcoran knows which personality traits she wants. She even has a go-to question to help her weed out complainers.

When it comes time for the candidate to ask her questions, she says the question itself reveals a lot about the person. On her podcast Business Unusual, Corcoran says these are the three worst questions you could ask in any job interview.

The question that says you're not a hard worker

Corcoran can't believe how many people ask her: "How late do I have to work?" This conveys to her that you don't want to work hard.

It's not that Corcoran thinks it's not valid that a candidate might want to know when you're expected to be in the office. It's all about how you pose the question. Instead, she suggests: "What are the typical hours?"

The question that says you're greedy

It gets under her skin when people ask, "How do I get raises around here?" or "How do people get promoted?" Before you even have a job offer, you're asking about getting more money and power. 

Corcoran sees the writing on the wall. "I think this person is going to be a pain in the neck," she explains." You can almost hear her rolling her eyes. "The job offer never comes."

There's a better way to ask this question without coming off as greedy. She recommends asking: "What would be expected of me within the first year to move ahead?"

The question that says you're not committed to your career

Asking about the vacation policy is another red flag for Corcoran. When someone asks about it, she hears them asking how quickly they can run out the door.

Is there a more tactful way to ask about vacation without pissing off your interviewer? Corcoran doesn't think so. "Just don't even ask this one," she says.

Asking the right questions at the right time

While all these tactical questions about how the job and benefits are structured, most are a better fit for HR. Or, ask them later in the interview process. When you're still in the courtship phase, treat this like dating: Ask the person a lot of questions about them. What do they like about their job? What's a project they recently worked on that they really enjoyed?

And of course, don't forget to send a thank-you email. It's a bad look not to. And some interviewers might put you in their "hard pass" pile if you don't.

Published on: Apr 11, 2019
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