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Questions to Avoid Asking in an Interview
October 25, 2016

By Kristine Penning, Creative Marketing Specialist

At the end of the interview, when it’s time to ask questions, anything’s okay, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Asking certain questions could cause your potential employer to second guess you, even if you’ve just given a shining interview.

Julie Le Suer, Senior Director at Quality Placement Authority, shares her personal input for candidates and what they should leave off the table following an interview.

Questions to Avoid Asking in an Interview

1) What would my starting salary be? How about benefits?

From Le Sueur: “This one is the most obvious—a candidate should never bring up compensation or benefits at any point until the interviewer/employer does. The only exception would be if the company is getting ready to make an offer (the candidate should make clear at this point what their compensation expectations are in a diplomatic way). If a candidate brings up comp/benefits prematurely, it will often kill an interview in the interviewer’s mind right then and there.

“Candidates need to wait for the interviewer to bring up this topic, then when asked what they are seeking for comp, a smart candidate will know how to do a bit of a ‘tap dance.’ It’s not smart to immediately throw out a hard number as this could price the candidate out of the job’s salary range or even worse, might undersell what their starting salary would be if they quote a figure on the low side. A good recruiter will know how to guide their candidate through this jungle to address these kinds of questions during an interview.”

2) How many other candidates are you considering for this position?

“This shows real rookie status,” says Le Suer. It also shows you may have a lack of confidence if you’re worried about how many other candidates an employer may be considering. It’s your employer’s business, not yours.

3) How soon will I be promoted if I get this job?

From Le Suer: “Again, this shows a real lack of class. It’s better for a candidate to address this topic by asking, ‘How will my performance be measured during my first year on the job?’ Which can then segue into, ‘What skill sets are most important to do this job well?’ Then the candidate can tackle these answers one by one to make mention of how they have carried similar duties, etcetera in other jobs.”

4) Can I have time off two weeks after I start?

You can bring this up later if you get hired. Asking about time off during the interview sends a clear message that you’re more worried about your social calendar than you are about securing the position you’re interviewing for.

Steer away from these questions and you will be fine. You may even work with a professional as nice as Le Suer, who said, “When prepping my candidates before an interview, I take the time to review what appropriate/inappropriate questions are to ask in the interview process.”

Instead of the above questions, why not try asking some of these instead and impress your interviewer?

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