During a job interview, the questions you ask are just as important as the answers you provide. One poorly-thought-out question could nix your chances of landing a job.
“What will stick with a potential employer is that you asked the right questions, paid close attention to the answers and really fathomed what their organization is all about,” says headhunter Mark Jaffe of Wyatt & Jaffe.
To help you avoid catastrophe, we’ve compiled a list of the worst questions you can ask during a job interview.
“What are your policies surrounding benefits and vacation time?”
Asking about job perks early on will make you appear self-indulgent.
“It’s kind of weird when someone gets into the nitty-gritty of the benefits,” says Alison Green, from Ask A Manager. “I’ve had people ask me who the health care provider is, if we have dental plans, how many vacation days we offer.”
Once you’re offered the job, that’s when discussion about benefits starts
“Can you tell me about your company?”
Hopefully you’ve already done your research on the company. Ask more specific questions that show you’ve done your research
“Will I have to work overtime?”
Instead, ask what a typical day looks like, reports CNN/Career Builder. This way, you’ll learn more about your daily responsibilities, including who you’ll be interacting with — and perhaps if people often work overtime
“Why did the last person leave?”
Rephrase this with, “Am I replacing someone or is this a new position?” That way, you put a positive spin on the question, and you’ll know whether you’ll be blazing new territory or working within established parameters
“Do you think I’d be a good fit?” OR “What reservations do you have about me?”
This puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your potential employer. If he or she thinks you’d be good, they’ll let you know. Focus on selling yourself
“Will I have to travel or relocate?”
This question makes you look inflexible. Wait for your potential employer to bring these topics up
“So what’s the salary for this job?”
Never ask about this during a first interview. Better yet, wait for your interviewer to ask you about salary range
“How long do you think this interview will take? I have to be somewhere afterward.”
Don’t ask this, or glance at your watch or cell phone during the interview. Generally, the longer an interview takes, the better. If you’re already asking how much work you need to put in, you’ll be seen as a whiner, not a winner
“What’s your policy on telecommuting and flex time?”
This makes it appear as though you’re the type to skirt responsibility. Unless telecommuting or flex time was mentioned in the job description or your prospective employer brought it up, skip this one
“How long does it usually take to get promoted?”
Stay away from questions on your growth opportunities in the company. This will make your interviewer question your intentions
Saying, “No, I don’t have any questions” at the end of the interview
An interview should be a conversation. “One of the greatest mistakes you can do is wait until the end of the interview [to ask all your questions],” says career coach Neil. “By then it’s far too late.”
A good way to sneak in your first questions is after the inevitable “tell me about yourself” question at the start of interviews. You can do it by saying “I can talk about my experiences for hours, but today I want to focus on what’s most important to you,” Neil says, and then ask you can your interviewer a question