Questions that I beg you not to ask in an interview

Getting asked questions and being put on the spot can be one of the scariest things in an interview. So, you endure the questions, you answer to the best of your ability, whilst trying to show your positivity and responsibility at the same time. But, what happens when the spotlight is on you and they ask you if you have any questions? Is it best to say no and save yourself? Or should you ask the first thing that comes into your head? Don’t worry, help is at hand. Asking questions to your potential employer shows your interest in the offered position, you should have a deep think about what you would like to ask, and you should know what you should not be asking. 

Here is a list of questions, in no particular order, that you REALLY shouldn’t ask in an interview.

  • “What’s the job and what does the company do?”

‘Lazy and uninterested in the job.’  This is what the employer/interviewer will most likely be thinking. So, what can you do beforehand? Make sure you know everything that you could possibly know about the job before you get there. Show them that you are the most able, reliable and organised person for the job, by knowing everything that you could possibly know about them. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should show up with a folder full of detailed historical notes and a power-point presentation, just know enough to show your own worth and dedication.

  • “Erm …do you do any random drug testing or background checks?”

Okay, so, hmm, if anyone asked me about this, red flags would be frantically jumping up and down inside my brain. This shows the employer that you could have something to hide about your past. It’s not a bad question to ask, but maybe save it for further down the line, once you have the job and they know you a little better. After all, you don’t want to be discussing drugs and possibly shady backgrounds with someone that you’ve just met. 

  • “How long is my lunch break? And how many breaks do I get?”

First of all, are you kidding? If this even comes into your mind, maybe this job isn’t that important to you. By asking this, you’re showing the employer that you are not that bothered by the job and, instead, you’re wondering when you can have a break from a job that isn’t even yours yet. Do yourself, and myself, a favour and don’t ask this. 

  • “How much sick pay do I get?”

With this, you’re basically screaming at your employer that you’re pre-planning your sick days and that you have probably already planned what you’re going to say when you call up the office to say you’re not coming in. All of this, before you even have the job. You’re trying to make a positive, lasting impression, so you would want to avoid seeming like someone that is prone to sick days and not coming into work. 

  • “So …when can I get promoted?”

Promotions? You haven’t even got the job! It’s good that you’re thinking about your progression in life and moving forward, but it’s maybe not the best thing to say when you haven’t even got the job. Employers want to see that you’re dedicated to the job that you’re applying for, not that you’re planning to jump at other opportunities as soon as possible.  Let’s put it this way, consistently do an amazing job and then watch that promotion approach you even quicker. 

  • “Will you be checking my Instagram, Twitter or other social media?”

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. If you are asking about this before you have the job, maybe you have something to hide on the internet that you don’t want your employer to see. Avoid the need of having to ask this question and always keep your social media to a standard that you wouldn’t mind being shown to a boss or a superior. Bringing up this topic shows you to be mysterious and this is definitely not what an employer is looking for. Be straight up and be the best version of yourself.

  • “That went well, right? So, I got the job?”

Patience, my child, patience is a virtue …and it’s polite. You don’t want to seem needy and pushy, so avoid questions like this. Truth is, the employer will need to have a little think about everything and you can’t rush perfection. Hopefully, by not asking any of these questions and by being absolutely prepared, you will be the perfect person for the job. You just have to allow your interviewer to come to this conclusion on their own.  Don’t assume that you already have the job. 

A few questions that you could ask…

Have I answered all of your questions? What qualities are you looking for in a successful candidate? Can you tell me more about the daily responsibilities? What do you like most about working for this company? Can you tell me more about the culture of the company? How are the goals and objectives for this position made clear to the employees and are they personalised for each person?

Just one thing that I need you to remember: The key to any (and every!) interview is preparation. The more prepared you are, the less likely you will be asking silly questions that could jeopardise your chances for the job. 

Post by Anika Tazmin

Anika is a 4th year student at the University of Nottingham.