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4 Questions to Avoid Asking During an Interview

During an interview, one surprising mistake many job candidates make is asking the wrong type of questions. In fact, sometimes asking the wrong questions can be just as bad as not asking any. As a result, it’s important to know the types of questions that can leave a bad impression. Luckily, we’ve provided you with a list of questions to avoid, why they’re important to avoid, and better questions to consider.

1.       What exactly does your company do?

One method hiring managers use to measure a candidate’s interest is based on their general background knowledge of the company.  Asking questions where the answers are easily accessible from a quick internet search or by browsing the company’s website will not help your chances of getting the callback because it shows that you did not prepare properly for the interview. On the other hand, here are a few areas you should touch upon:

  • What is one quality all of your employees share?
  • How do you/your employees connect with your mission statement?
  • Since you are recognized as (insert something from their press room/company news page) what do you believe sets your company apart from others?

The answer to these questions may give you an opportunity to further sell yourself. For example, being able to explain how your skills will fit in with the overall goal(s) of the company may leave a stronger impression on your interviewer than the candidate who doesn’t. In addition, if you can comment on any type of collateral or news-worthy information the company has been featured in or created recently it will show you’ve done your due diligence on the company.

2.       What do you usually offer candidates at this level in compensation and benefits?

There is a fine line between asking questions to learn more about the company/position and being assumptive that you are going to get an offer. Therefore, to avoid coming off as arrogant or greedy during the early stages of the interview process, it is more important to focus on how your experience, skills, and personality could be utilized with your potential team by asking these questions:

  • How are team members recognized for their accomplishments?
  • How would you describe the strongest trait of your team?
  • If I were to start working today, what type of project(s) would I be working on?

These questions let your interviewer know you are interested in figuring out how your skills and personality could mesh with the team dynamic. It will also demonstrate your enthusiasm about the position.

3.       Do you do criminal background checks and drug tests before you hire candidates?

Asking questions about any preliminary tests (writing, problem solving, licensing, etc.) you may be required to complete is generally a good idea. However, asking questions about tests that aren’t directly related to the role will give your interviewer something to worry about. To stray away from these question types, more proactive questions include:

  • How do employees get performance reviews?
  • What are some of the most challenging aspects of this position?
  • Will there be opportunities for further learning or career development?

Hiring managers are interested in candidates that express genuine interest in learning new skills and acquiring new responsibilities in order to grow with the company—something these questions can help you accomplish.

4.        Do you block/monitor internet usage and social networks?

Some candidates are inclined to find out just how much the company policies might differ from their last employer. However, questions regarding a company’s internet policy are worrisome for interviewers because they may portray you as a sneaky and unreliable professional. A candidate that changes their working habits depending on who is looking at their computer can raise many red flags for employers. Instead, consider asking some of these questions to prevent you from giving off a bad impression:

  • What is an example of a current project the team is working on?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • What criterion is used to evaluate employee performance?

Practical questions such as these will show your interviewer you are focused on “hitting the ground running” and allow you to comment on how your work ethic will fit with the management style. Ultimately, interviewers are looking for candidates that can not only do the job, but also will be able to blend into their corporate culture and team dynamics.

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