10 Questions to NEVER Ask in an Interview

Sometimes curiosity can kill the cat

interview
(Image: iStock.com/sturti)

Job interviews are hard. It seems the protocol of what to say, when to say it, or who to say it to are constantly fluctuating and there seem to be no hard, fast rules about what’s appropriate to ask in order to get the information you need. That is until now.

Below is what you are much better off NOT asking in a job interview in order to stand a fighting chance. Check it out:

1. How much did the last person in this position make?

This is simply not your business. If you’re curious as to what someone in the sought after position would make, consult Google. If you think the wage being offered to you is unfair, try to tactfully negotiate.

2. If I can’t get the task done, can I just ask someone else to do it?

If delegating tasks is not a part of your job description, assume it isn’t OK to do so.

3. What is the worst aspect of this job?

For starters “worst” is relative, so the question may not produce the answer you want. In addition, this question suggests that you’re inclined to focus on the negative. Who wants to hire a Negative Nancy?

4. What time can I leave at the end of the day?

The job hasn’t even started yet and you’re already trying to escape. This question prompts the interviewer to question your level of commitment right out of the gate.

5. Can I telecommute?

If the option isn’t listed in the initial job description, assume the answer is no until further notice. Asking this at this stage gives the impression that you’re opposed to showing up at work daily like everyone else.

6. What would the person in this position have to do?

Uhh…did you by any chance read the job description? Well, act like it. Try asking more specific questions regarding the job description you’re already familiar with, if necessary.

7. How long is lunch?

Again with looking for an immediate escape. Though lunch is definitely an important part of the workday, it is certainly not high enough on the list for you to inquire about it before your foot’s in the door. Find peace in knowing that, surely, at some point in the day you will be allowed a break to eat. Find out the logistics after you’ve secured your position.

8. What are the perks?

The only perk that should matter to you at this point is meaningful employment. Let that be enough for now.

9. Do you do background checks?

Why would a person who has nothing to hide pose such a question? This is the easiest way to raise a red flag to your potential employer. Simply assume that they do, until they don’t.

10. Who should I be cautious of in this company if I land the job?

At this point, the person they should be most cautious about is you because you’re proving to be messy already. Stop it. No one likes a gossip.



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