9 Bad Interview Questions That Can Ruin Your Chances

You’ve done it!  You’re at the interview round, remembered to appear confident and in control and answered the questions the way you wanted. It’s nearly over when the employer asks you if you have any interview questions for them. Uh oh. What do you do?

There are some questions that you might want to ask – and some that you definitely shouldn’t.  Let us give you the lowdown on what will make a favourable impression.

Do you try and appear confident by asking nothing? (NO) Do you immediately ask how much you’ll be paid? (Also NO)  So, how do you go about this tricky stage of the interview process that usually comes right as you are about to leave?

You can use this stage to your advantage if you’re well prepared – and also give you an opportunity to turn the tables and ask a few smart questions. It can reveal that you have been paying attention and show that you have done your research on the company. It can also help give you some information about the position and the company that you might not already know.  So let’s make sure you leave the interviewer with an awesome final impression of you – and hopefully, put you ahead of the other candidates.

Never Ask These Interview Questions

Did I get the job?

This question is flagged by interviewers as one of the worst questions to ask. It puts the interviewer on the spot and and can make you seem desperate and unprofessional. It is much better to instead be patient and wait to find out. The interviewer is highly unlikely to be able to tell you if you have got the job at that time anyway. If you blew them away and they want to get you onboard right away, they’ll tell you but don’t try and rush their decision.

How much do I get paid?

This is the other question interviewers hate to be asked. You will find out how much the role pays when they formally offer you the job, if not earlier. Asking the question at the first opportunity you get makes you look like you only care about the money and not about the people you will work with the work you will be doing. Although you may think it important to find out exactly how much you can expect, it is always better to wait until later to ask.

What benefits do I get?

Similar to asking about the salary, asking about vacation or sick days doesn’t paint you in the best light. By focusing so heavily on what the company can do for you, you’re not showing the interviewer what you can do for the company.

Do I get to work from home?

If the position allows for opportunities to work from home it would have been made clear in the job ad or during the interview. Asking this type of question so early may indicate that you aren’t able to work as part of a team. Save this question until you get the job and you have more of a feel for how the company works.

How many hours will I have to work?

Although you might be concerned about fitting in the work schedule into your life there are better ways to approach that topic. Asking how many hours makes it seem like you are finding about the bare minimum expected from you. It doesn’t make you particularly desirable from the interviewer’s perspective.

How late can I get to work?

Flexible work schedules are becoming more popular and many employers are beginning to incorporate changing start and end times. By focusing on the late part however it implies again that you are looking for ways to cut corners. Better to save questions about flexibility until later in the process.

Will I be promoted quickly?

This question, whilst looking like it shows enthusiasm and ambition instead makes it look like you are trying to get out of the role you are applying for. The employer doesn’t want to have to replace you in a couple of months and wants to know that you are committed to the role. Remember, you don’t want to focus too heavily on what the company is doing for you.

Is there a background check? / Do you do drug testing here? / Will you check my social media?

Details of background checks will usually be given in the job ad ahead of time. Don’t stress out though, there are protections in place for job seekers with criminal records. It is always good practice to have an employer-safe social media presence even if they don’t check it – although many do – you never know who may be looking. Generally you want to avoid any type of questions that may lead the interviewer to ask what you may be hiding.

*No Question*

Not asking a question means that the interviewer will fill in the blanks about why you don’t want to know anything. They may assume that you haven’t researched the company well enough or you don’t care enough to ask anything. Even worse they might think that you are desperate for any job rather than a job with their particular company. Alternatively, they might think the job now doesn’t interest you. Don’t give them that opportunity and ask them something. Better yet, ask them one of the following questions.

Best Interview Questions to Ask

What are the next steps in the application process?

This shows that you are excited at the prospect of working with the company. Importantly, it will also give you a better idea of what to expect in the coming weeks. Another round of interviews, a phone call, an email. Unless the interviewer has already explained it, this question is pretty much always useful to ask.

What are some opportunities for growth?

This question shows that you are ambitious about working with the company and want to be able to develop and grow alongside the business. It can give you a better idea of what previous people in your position have done and what the employer may expect from you.

What do you like most about the company?

Asking this question can allow you to get a real feel for the company. If the interviewer hesitates or can’t provide a solid answer then you might change how you feel about working for that company. On the other hand, if they are passionate and immediately tell you how much they love their job then you might realise that this could be a great place to work. It also allows you to engage with the interviewer in a positive way.

What are some major projects that I would be working on?

This shows that you are eager to start and excited to learn what you will be a part of. It can also help to give you a timeline of how quickly they expect you to get up to speed and what expectations they have for the role.

Could you give me some examples of the company’s culture?

Although many companies talk a lot about their culture, not all of them can put that into practice. If the interviewer is able to give solid examples, then you know that the company is focused on putting its words into practice and you can expect an experience similar to what’s written on the box. If they aren’t aware of the culture in practice it might make you second guess that company’s desire to focus on their values.

Next Steps

That’s it. Congratulations! You made it through one of the biggest hurdles of any interview. Asking the right interview questions can be daunting but can give you an edge on your competition. Since you are most likely at the end, all you have to do now is answer any more questions, say goodbye politely, shakes hands and smile and wait to hear how you went.

If you’ve asked them what the application process looks like (which you definitely should!) you should have a good idea of when you will hear back from them. If it gets to that point it is well worth sending an email to the interviewer or calling to the company to see how your application is going.

In the meantime, consider sending a thank you email to each person in the interview room. If you are going to send a thank you, it’s best done as soon after the interview as possible. This is one more opportunity to show your eagerness to work with the company and to demonstrate that you are professional and courteous. 

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