So, you think you’re acing your job interview.
Your interviewer seems to like you. You like your job interviewer. The camaraderie couldn’t be better.
Then comes the proverbial: “So, what questions do you have for me?”
Whether you’re interviewing for a job at Google or joining your local small business, the questions that you ask your interviewer matter. It’s your opportunity to showcase your talents, knowledge, and judgment.
Here are 5 questions that you should never ask during a job interview (and three more that you should).
1. “So, how much will I get paid?”
This seems like a no-brainer, but for some reason, interviewees still think the question is fair play.
That said, it is a fair question. After all, you need to know how much you’ll be paid before you take the job. While that’s true, the interview is not the time to discuss salary.
If you receive a job offer, you can discuss salary at that time.
2. “How much vacation time will I get?”
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Again, your vacation and personal time might be an important part of your calculus when deciding to take a job offer.
However, asking how much vacation time you’ll get demonstrates you’re focused more on time off than working.
Like salary, your vacation and other benefits should be reflected in the job offer. You can ask all the questions related to salary and benefits at that time. You can also schedule a follow-up session with the human resources department for a benefits deep-dive.
3. “How quickly can I get promoted?”
Climbing the ladder of your potentially new organization is admirable.
However, don’t assume during the interview that you have the job. It’s important to understand options for movement – both upward and lateral – within the organization. If you plan to work at this organization, it’s essential to understand your career trajectory.
You don’t want to come off as entitled. This question may convey to the interviewer that you think you already have the job (when you don’t).
4. “Why did the company fire so many people last month?”
It’s never a good sign to read about layoffs.
This is especially true when you may be joining an organization after a big headcount reduction.
It’s a fair question, and you should understand the details. However, the job interview is the wrong time.
When you receive your job offer, you can have a frank conversation with your manager about the layoffs, the rationale, whether additional layoffs are expected and other related information to fortify your understanding.
Before accepting a job, make sure to understand if the headcount reduction is expected to be ongoing or if it was a one-time occurrence.
5. “So, who do you consider your competition?”
Instead of asking your interviewer about the competition, spend the time asking questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and also show that you’ve done research prior to your interview.
Before the interview, you should have conducted due diligence on the competitive landscape.
That includes understanding key competitors, relative strengths and weaknesses, the supply chain, key opportunities and threats, barriers to entry and other pertinent market dynamics.
You’re better off weaving this information into the interview, rather than asking during the question period.
3 Questions That You Can Ask During An Interview
Here are three potential questions that you could ask during your job interview:
1. “What are the best attributes of the company’s culture?”
- Show your interest in company culture.
- Understand the key values that set this company apart.
- Learn more about the company’s mission and value proposition.
2. “How much is collaboration across departments encouraged?”
- Determine whether collaboration is promoted internally.
- Learn more about ways in which collaboration helps create value for employees and customers.
- See if the interviewer can share concrete examples to further your understanding.
3. “What would you like the person that you hire to accomplish over the next 6-12 months?”
- Learn about your interviewer’s goals for the position.
- Understand expectations.
- This will give you insights because the question is specific to the role and shows your ability to think longer-term.
Written by Zack Friedman, Senior contributor
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