14 Interview killing questions not to ask during the First interview

My previous article, 25 sample Questions to help you with the “What question should I ask if the interviewer asks if I have any questions? “Question, focused on offering helpful questions to ask an interviewer if you are stuck.

While it is important to ask good, thoughtful, meaningful  questions you also need to avoid interview killing bad questions.

Interviewing is two way street; you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. However, generally speaking,  fair or not, the company usually asks the tough invasive questions first.  Standard protocol usually calls for the interviewee to initially sell him/herself.  Once there is a mutual attraction between the firm and candidate it is socially acceptable for the applicant to then ask the tougher more pointed and direct questions. Since the hiring manager knows you better, and likes you for the position, he/she is happy to answer your more specific questions.

Therefore, it is important to avoid asking certain questions before the hiring manger gets to really know you and believes that you are the right person for the job.

The following are some questions to avoid during your first interview.

Please note, I am somewhat exaggerating the questions for the sake of the article but you will get the point.

  1. Can you tell me what your company does ? (This question demonstrates that you clearly didn’t do your homework about the firm which shows a lack of initiative and interest)
  2. What salary are you offering? (It is too early in the process to discuss salary offers. Also, you should have previously discussed the compensation range prior to going on the interview)
  3. How many hours a day will I be expected to work? (The question will have the hiring manager feel that you are not focused on your career but on punching a clock)
  4. How many sick days and vacation days do I get? (This type of question implies that you are preoccupied on what the firm can do for you and not on what you could do for the company. There will be plenty of time later to ascertain the benefits including vacation and sick days)
  5. When can I get a raise?
  6. When will I be promoted?
  7. Will I have my own office? (#5,#6, and #7 implies that you take things for granted and don’t necessary want to earn them which is a turn-off)
  8. What do you do when you are not working? (Too personal)
  9. I can’t start work early because… I can’t work late because… (#8 and #9 are flashing warning signs that you will always have excuses and problems interfering with getting your work done)
  10. Why do I have to come back and meet with more people? (Too whiny)
  11. Why won’t you tell me how much I will be offered?  (Too pushy)
  12. What will my bonus be? (Bonus? The hiring manager doesn’t know if she want to hire you at this time)
  13. I want a guaranteed total compensation package of___.
  14. Did I get the job?   (#13 and #14 Too presumptuous at this stage of the interview process)

Please understand, I am not underestimating the importance of salary, benefits and family obligations.  Clearly, you must have a comfort level with the firm’s attitude towards pay, promotions, work hours and work/life balance.

My point, for you to consider, is that after years of experience recruiting, it is best to save these types of questions for later in the process.  Once a company falls in love with you they are more than happy to answer any and all your questions. In fact, the company wants you to ask questions as they feel that it is a sign of interest. Moreover, they will try their best to answer them and make you happy as they now know, like and want you.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck interviewing.

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