The worst things you can do when asked at a job interview, "Do you have any questions?"
General rule of thumb, if you don’t have any decent questions to ask at the end of an interview, don’t expect to be invited back for the next round.
And if you do have a list of questions in mind, avoid the questions below unless you’re asked about it first. These are so called “Me” questions that show, in the eyes of the interviewer, a lack of interest in the job or organisation, or that you're only in this application for yourself.
In other words, some of these questions could indicate someone who's likely to disrupt a team or only sees this role as short term.
Another rule of thumb, most employers look to hiring a team player who can fit in and enhance the existing team.
Questions/phrases to avoid:
1. What’s my salary / benefits - leave this for the recruiter to confirm the budget or wait until the offer comes through, if you’ve already told them your salary expectations and invited you to interview then there’s a high chance they can accommodate this. If not, you have every right to feel aggrieved for having your time wasted).
2. What do I need to do to get promoted?
3. Can I have my own office?
4. When can I start taking sick time or holiday leave?
5. Can I work from home?*
6. What incentives do you provide (unless it’s a sales job)
7. Can I transfer to another team after I join your company/firm?
8. Are there any other jobs at your company/firm?
9. What’s the worst thing about working in your company?*
10. Can the job scope be changed to adapt to my career goals or desires? A rare exception to being able to raise the question if it relates to a disability. For example, your question may related to whether the employer has easy office or building access methods or additional equipment or other support to working in the office. In other circumstances generally, try to avoid.
Asking the above questions, whilst valid, shows more a poor calculation of timing and poor phrasing than your skills set. Remember, you’re still at the stage of having to demonstrate your good intentions towards an employer and how you can add value to their organisation.
Sometimes, it can be a matter of how you ask something, rather than what you ask. In order to reach the same outcome, you could ask, "What initiatives do you implement to enhance communication or morale for your team?"
The response could elicit more detail on any one or more relating to incentives, WFH practices, stability of working hours, team socials, career mobility opportunities, all of which can be seen as good selling points to join their organisation. Instead of phrasing it as, "What do I get," it's more seeing from an employers perspective how they treat staff as a whole.
I've heard of candidates being rejected by asking these 'avoid' types of questions, so put a little more thought into the types of questions you do ask, and remember, having no questions at all means little or no chance of progressing.
The above was posted on LinkedIn by our co-founder Chris Tang in January 2024.