Questions NOT to ask at an interview

We asked 50 recruiters to share the all-time worst questions they’ve ever been asked at an interview. And they shared some gems.

The end of the interview is in sight. You brought your A-game. You delivered. You reckon you’ve got it in the bag. Inside your head its high fives all round – but wait, what’s that sound pulling you back from your celebratory day dream? Uh oh, it’s THAT question – the one dreaded by all interviewees… “Do you have any questions for me?” It’s inevitable, so surely you’re prepared right? Riggghhhtt? Sadly, not everyone is. Don’t underestimate the impact of your questions just because they’re at the end. They count.  There’s no getting away from it, you have to come up with at least three questions to reflect your knowledge of the company, interest in the position and work ethic. If you’re struggling, here’s a list of interview questions to ask the employer to get you started. Some people relish this part of the interview. It’s their opportunity to shine. On the other hand, there are some questions that are never appropriate to ask your interviewer. Here’s a list of questions you should steer clear of along with why they’re not a good idea and some snappy alternatives;

  1. Never ask: for information you could have easily found with a quick Google search – questions like “what does your company do?” are detrimental in the interview process. Asking questions about the company that you could have researched beforehand demonstrates you have not done your research and implies that you are not interested in the position.
    What you should be asking:  I saw on your website that you recently took part in x, y & z. Can you tell me more about that?

  2. Never ask: if you can change the job details, the schedule, or move to other areas of the business. Questions about hours, extra work and overtime imply that you are only in it for the money and don’t have a vested interest in the company. Try instead to demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, you’re much more likely to get a foot in the dour that way.
    What you should be asking:  What does a typical day look like in terms of this role and how do you interact with other teams? The answer will likely give you insight into expected work hours

  3. Never ask: about gossip you’ve heard. Not only can this questions come off as self-serving but it gives the impression you may not be a team player, avoid looking like you’ve got a chip on your shoulder.  
    What you should be asking:  How many people are there in the team? What’s the company culture like here?

  4. Never ask: if you got the job – This question makes you appear impatient and puts employers on the spot. Instead, ask for more information on the next step in the hiring process. However, if they are interested in you, most employers will give you this information beforehand.
    What you should be asking: Is there anything you need me to prepare going forward? How many stages are there in the interview process?”  

  5. Never ask:  about pay, holidays, benefits, maternity pay, on a first interview. Again, this can come across as self-serving and more interested in pay that the role itself. If some benefits are a deal-breaker, it’s best that you come clean at the outset.
    What you should be asking: How do you engage with your employees or what is your employee engagement strategy? However, the worst question of all is the one you never ask, not asking questions can be as bad, as asking awful ones. Know the value of a good question, it can reveal a lot about your communication skills, character, and self-confidence. Just for a giggle here are some of the worst questions our recruitment consultants have ever come across in an interview.

    Here’s the highlights;

  • Are the lavatories for personal use?
  • How late can I be to work without getting fired?
  • What’s your diet like?…..(The interviewer was a large lady)
  • When do the summer holidays start?
  • Does this company monitor Internet usage?
  • How many warnings do you get before you are fired?