I’ve written a few posts on good questions to ask at the end of an interview and today we’re going to cover the reverse: What NOT to ask at the end of an interview.
I’m sure some people out there will disagree with me on these, but I can tell you from first hand experience as well as conversations with many other interviewers, that asking these questions will not help you get hired. Many times, they end up leaving a bad taste with the interviewer (whether it’s justified or not) which can work against you.
So here they are – my top 3 things you should NOT ask:
1. “What do you think of me?” / “So do you think you’re going to hire me?” or any form of that question
Guys… would you ask someone after a first date if they like you and were planning to ask you out again? No! And it’s just as weird and off-putting in an interview.
I actually read this advice (saying to do it!) in one of the most popular job search/career books on the market and I want take a moment to adamantly disagree. It’s one thing to say “Is there anything else I can share with you that would prove I’m a great person for this job” but it’s another story to put someone on the spot.
This also doesn’t work because a hiring decision is not one person’s choice. Your interviewer will likely need you to meet (and gather feedback) from many other people before being able to answer that question. In addition, they may have other candidates to interview. Bottom line, it makes people uncomfortable and they probably don’t have the answer for you anyway.
2. Any “what’s in it for me” questions about benefits, vacation, pay, etc.
Obviously these are important questions and you’re going to need to ask them, but a first round interview is not the time. When you are being interviewed, it’s all about proving your enthusiasm, dedication, and qualifications for the job. When you get an offer (or are close to one) it’s time to ask about pay, benefits, and any other parts of your package (and negotiate when appropriate).
Additionally, in most cases, your HR or Recruiting contact will have those answers versus the hiring manager or other interviewers so direct these types of questions to them.
If these are factors that will affect whether or not you even start the interview process (especially relevant when the company approaches you vs. the other way around) you might choose to have that conversation with the interviewer up front.
Saying something like “I’m very interested in this opportunity but I would like to discuss X (comp, benefits, etc.) up front to make sure we are on the same page before moving forward” is fine. Keep in mind that if you do say something like that, you will likely be removing yourself from the process if the company isn’t aligned with your requests.
3. Anything that can be easily found online
When you go into a job interview, the expectation is that you’ve done your research ahead of time. When you get asked “do you have any questions for me?” at the end of an interview, you want to use this time to ask insightful questions that actually matter to you.
One of the best types of questions is one that takes your research and asks your interviewer to elaborate or share their view on something you learned.
On the flipside, asking about something that can easily be found online is a no-go. This makes it seem like you don’t really care about the company or where you work.