I was recently asked if it's a good idea to ask hiring managers questions during an interview. The answer is a big yes. In fact, I think there are eight simple questions you should ask during an interview to not only help you stand out, but also help you get the inside information you need to decide if the employer is right for you.

However, there is one question you should never, ever ask.

Don't Say, "Show Me the Money"

OK, so you likely wouldn't pull a Cuba Gooding Jr. from Jerry Maguire and literally say, "Show me the money!" However, many candidates do make the mistake of asking about compensation prematurely. When the first question you ask is, "What does it pay?" you send the wrong message.

Here's Why

You are a business-of-one that is trying to sell your services to the employer. It's up to you to earn the company's trust and respect in the interview so it feels comfortable giving you the job. When you are so bluntly focused on what the job pays, you are letting the employer know it is nothing more than a paycheck to you. It also implies if you were to get a higher paying offer, you'd ditch the company for it. 

Say This Instead

The better question to ask has to do with makes employees most proud and satisfied to work at the company. You could ask, "What do you think makes employees really happy to work here?" Hopefully, this will steer the conversation toward pay and benefits. But if it doesn't, you need to bite your tongue and avoid the urge to ask. An employer will only bring up the subject of pay when it feels you are a possible fit for the job. Think of it as a "buy signal" for your business-of-one. And that's good news for you, because it means the company is interested! At which point, it will want to make sure you are in its price range.

In summary, it's better to wow a company in the interview by asking simple questions designed to make you look good. Remember, it's already hard enough to land an interview these days. Don't blow it by looking greedy.

Published on: May 17, 2016