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Think Before You Ask: Questions To Not Ask During An Interview

As you begin to go out on job interviews, you’ll want to prepare a list of questions to ask hiring managers once you get called in. It can be difficult to brainstorm questions that don’t come off as generic, so how do you begin to weed out questions that not only won’t impress a hiring manager, but could do more harm than good?

While compiling questions you want to ask during a job interview, keep in mind that there are several questions that could ultimately place you out of the running. Despite having the best intentions, asking the wrong questions can make you appear ill-prepared or lead employers to believe that your priorities aren’t aligned with what the company is looking for.

To ensure you don’t commit any major faux pas, don’t let these questions make the cut:

What does your company do?

Before you go in for an interview, you should spend some time reading up on the company’s history, mission statements, and any relevant news. The hiring manager will likely be expecting that all of their serious candidates will be familiar with the company to an extent, but will be impressed most by candidates who took the initiative to learn some key facts about the company. If you ask the hiring manager what the company does, you’re not only showing that you didn’t do your research, you’re giving off the impression that you aren’t serious about the job.

What are the benefits like?

First, let’s make one thing clear: it is okay to be curious about the benefits a company offers. For some, something like health insurance or reimbursements can make a significant difference in an employee’s quality of life and well-being. Despite this, it is better to save this question until the second or third round of interviews, or when you ultimately get offered the job. If you ask about the benefits during the early stages of the interview process, the hiring manager might think you’re being assumptive that you are going to get the offer. Instead, it’s better to focus on questions pertaining to the company’s culture and the team you would be joining. However, if you truly need to know about the benefits before the appropriate time, look around the company’s website and see if they’re there. Companies will sometimes list their best benefits and perks online as a way to attract applicants.

Do you check social media accounts?

Before you even begin looking for a new job, you should spend some time combing through all of your social media accounts for any polarizing or controversial content. The fact of the matter is, you should always act under the assumption that all prospective employers are checking up on your activity. By asking a prospective employer whether or not they check their employees’ social media accounts, you’re raising a red flag for a hiring manager who may see you as a potential hazard to the company’s image.  To keep yourself from getting caught in this situation, carve out some time to delete anything that could hurt your professional credibility.

Do you conduct background checks?

If you had some type of conflict with the law that is bound to come up if a prospective employer conducts a background check, your gut reaction may be to ask whether or not background checks are part of the hiring process. However, by approaching the situation in this manner, you’re inadvertently telling the hiring manager that you have something to hide. Instead, it’s a best practice to be transparent with the hiring manager about your past. Though it may be intimidating, the hiring manager will appreciate your honesty and your willingness to take accountability for your past mistakes. Background checks are part of almost all hiring processes, so it’s better to be honest from the beginning than let the company be surprised once they check in on you.

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