You've prepped for all the expected questions, practiced discussing your experience and perfected your firm handshake. Don't blow the job interview by asking a question that puts you at a disadvantage.
As a job seeker, going into an interview with curiosity is a must. After all, an interview is a two-way dialogue to help both you and the hiring manager determine if you are a good fit for each other. Thoughtful questions help gather information to make a good decision while showing the interviewer how you think.
Great queries will demonstrate your enthusiasm, interest and judgment. Poorly chosen ones can reveal a bad attitude, lack of preparation or worse. The questions you ask have the power to position you as a strong candidate with a lot to offer, or as someone whose sole mission is to collect their next paycheck.
Here are seven questions you should never ask in a job interview.
"What exactly does your company do?"
Arriving ill-prepared, not having a firm grasp of the company's products, mission, history and competitors signals to the interviewer you lack basic drive and potential. Get to know the company from several angles by looking at their website, social media presence, blog, news coverage and leadership team. With an understanding of the company culture, your knowledge will allow you to ask informed questions which will demonstrate you've done your homework.
"How much will I earn?"
Salary is an important consideration, but not in the first few minutes of dialogue (perhaps not even in the first interview!). Chances are you are going into the interview with a general idea of your salary requirements and what the position might pay. There will be time to talk about compensation after you have proven your credibility and worth.
"Do you do background checks?"
This is a clear indicator you have made a poor choice or have some habits you may need to address. Questions like, "Are employees required to pass a drug test?" or "Do you monitor the email and online activity of employees?" will raise red flags and eyebrows. Your interviewer will take note of these not-so-subtle clues which may indicate you are a less favorable candidate.
"How much vacation time do I get?"
While time off is an important consideration, it's only worth discussing once you have received a job offer. Again, your main mission in the first interview is to learn everything you can about the opportunity and give the interviewer the information they need to see why you're right for the job. The time to discuss your benefits and personal time off is after you have received an offer.
"Is it always this busy?"
Word choice is everything. Find a way to phrase your queries without casting judgment. Asking questions which have a critical undertone can paint a picture of you as a negative or high-maintenance person who may be difficult to work around. If you are someone who prefers working independently in a quiet environment, then you might not be the right fit for a high-energy setting. Gather the information you need in a more neutral way: "It looks like there's quite a bit of interaction and activity going on-;is this a typical day in the office?" or "Is there more of an emphasis on employees working together in teams or individually?"
"When will I be eligible for a promotion?"
Even if your goal is to demonstrate your ambition, this question shows you're not interested in the current job, but more concerned with how fast you can advance through the company or get a raise. Instead, you can ask questions about the typical career track within the company or what kind of growth opportunities the position could lead to in the future.
"Would you summarize our conversation in an email and send it to me?"
Recently I interviewed a candidate who asked me to send her an overview of our conversation. She was a bright new college graduate who had great potential. However, her request for a summary came across as unsophisticated and somewhat arrogant. Considering she might use the same judgment with a client was simply not worth the risk.
Think carefully before your next interview-;every question is a step towards your next professional milestone.