Ask Questions at a Job Interview—Just Not These!


The job interview is often one of the most nerve wracking experiences of the job hunt. Although it usually means that a company is interested in hiring you, it also means that you have to make a perfect first impression. Without the right first impression, there’s a good chance that you’ll miss out on landing a job.

If you’ve done your homework, you most likely know what to take to a job interview and to ask a few questions of your own during the interview. However, if you ask questions at a job interview—the wrong ones, that is!—it could actually cost you the position!

By all means, feel free to ask questions at a job interview; just not these…

1. “What does your company do?”

If you have a job interview at a company, you should already know what that company does as well as a brief history of the company. If you ask questions at a job interview that you should already know the answers to, it makes you look lazy, incompetent, or ill-prepared. So, do yourself a favor and do a quick Google search beforehand.

2. “How much will I get paid?”

Candidates that ask questions at a job interview about compensation look a little desperate. Interviewers may get the impression that you might be after the job only for the money. Even if this is true, keep it to yourself and save any questions about salary and raises until after you’ve received a job offer.

3. “When can I get benefits?”

Like asking about money during a job interview, asking about benefits can also make you seem more interested in them than the actual job. Again, keep these questions to yourself until a job offer has been extended.

4. “Do I get paid vacations and personal days?”

Are you planning on taking lots of time off when you land your new job? Because that’s what it looks like when you ask questions at a job interview that pertain to taking time off. Save these concerns for later.

5. “Do employees get a discount?”

Sure discounts are a great perk of working at some retailers! However, asking abut how much money you can save with a discount at a job interview isn’t very professional. In fact, it could cost you the position, since it makes you look less interested in the job and more interested in the perks.

6. “Are employees drug tested?”

Why?! Exactly why would anyone ask questions at a job interview that have to do with drug testing? Candidates should automatically assume that drug testing is mandatory, and it just raises suspicions. So, even if you have nothing to worry about, asking about drug testing at a job interview is a no-no. If you’re required to take a drug test prior to being hired, the interviewer or human resources manager will give you the information you need to know.

7. “Do I have to work weekends?”

Sure, everyone wants weekends and holidays off, but that isn’t always possible Asking questions about specific days off or the flexibility of a schedule at a job interview makes it appear as if you won’t be very dedicated to your job. If you must ask, stick to general questions about the schedule, like “What’s the average schedule like for this position?”

8. “When can I be promoted?”

When interviewing for a position at a company, stay focused on that position. When you ask questions at a job interview about being promoted, it doesn’t always make you look ambitious and driven; it could make you look desperate to get your foot in the door in order to move onto a higher position. If getting promoted is important to you, ask about the opportunities for advancement throughout the entire company instead.

9. “When will you call my references?”

This is a bit of a tricky question. On one hand, you might want to give your references a head up on when to expect a call, but you should refrain from asking this question at a job interview. It can appear as though you’re not only preparing our references for a call, but possibly coaching them on what to say. When or if a potential employer is ready to check your references, he or she will ask for a list. Your references can expect a call any time after that.

Do you have any other tips for job seekers looking to ask questions at a job interview? Leave them in the comments below!