5 things to never ask in a job interview

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What Not to Ask During a Job Interview

The answers you give to a hiring manager's questions during your job interview can clearly help you clinch the position. But avoiding asking the wrong questions is as important as knowing the right types of responses to give to the interviewer's queries.

SEE MORE: The 8 Best Questions to Ask a Job Interviewer

With that principle in mind, here are five questions you should never ask during a job interview.

What is the salary? While compensation will likely be an important factor in your ultimate job decision, timing is critical when raising the topic of how much you'll be paid. Popping the salary question too early can be a turn-off to your potential employer, as it can leave the impression that you care more about the pay than the work itself. Don't ask about salary, raises or benefits during a first interview or phone screen. Even if the hiring manager asks you directly about money in this initial meeting, it's best to try to avoid committing to a specific number or salary band at this early stage. Instead, steer the conversation back to your credentials for the position and learning more about the job responsibilities.

Can I work from home? If you're applying for a full-time staff position rather than a freelance or flexible job arrangement, you can't assume that you'll be able to work from home when you want to, regardless of your preference to do so. Even though the number of employers who green-light telecommuting has risen in the last decade and nearly 40 percent of workers report having worked from home, asking about flexibility too soon in the process can backfire and blow the deal. This question suggests that you are more concerned about making the job fit your personal life than the other way around. Although work-life balance is a crucial factor to consider, save this exploration for after you have a job offer.

See the 10 worst body language mistakes you can make during an interview:

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5 things to never ask in a job interview

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 


Is it OK to arrive late or leave early if it's a slow day? If an interviewer gives you an opportunity to ask questions during your job interview, you should focus on showing that you've done your homework and are actually interested in the position. Asking questions at the interview stage that focus instead on your personal preferences – such as whether you can arrive late or leave early depending on workload – are a red flag to employers that you may be difficult to manage. While "me-based" questions like these may be important to you, the interview is not the right time to raise them. If you get the job, once you've proven yourself for a while, you'll have better leverage to make such requests.

EXPLORE MORE: The 8 Stages of a Winning Job Search

How quickly can I get promoted or get a raise? It's great to be ambitious and forward-thinking about your career, but many employers won't appreciate too much emphasis on these qualities during their first discussions with you. The hiring manager's main objective through interviewing is to find the right person to do the job at hand, not to help you plan your future promotion. While it might be appropriate to raise the question of promotability in the later-stage interviews or after an offer is made, asking too soon about the big picture of your possible progression at the company – either in terms of advancement potential or salary – suggests to the employer that you're not really interested in the current position to be filled. Instead, focus your questions on the content of the current job, emphasizing how you can help the interviewers meet their goals.

How much paid vacation would I get? Like salary, the quality of the benefits package may play a large role in your ultimate decision to join a company. But questioning the hiring committee about vacation time and other employee benefits in your initial interviews shows too much interest in personal perks as opposed to helping the employer solve the company's problems. Once the management team has extended a job offer to you, then it's fair game to drill down into the benefits package and ensure that you understand your total compensation, from paid time off to personal and sick days. Until then, consider these more "selfish" enquiries off limits.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways to Crush a Phone Interview

Whether you're on a phone interview or have an in-person meeting with a recruiter or employer, steering clear of questions that are potential landmines can help you progress to the next stage of the job search process and get the position you want.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

RELATED: Check out the most stressful jobs in America:

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5 things to never ask in a job interview

1. Firefighter: Median salary $45,600

Photo: Getty

2. Enlisted military personnel: $28,840

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3. Military general: $196,300

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4. Airline pilot: $98,410

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5. Police officer: $56,980

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6. Actor: $46,070

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7. Broadcaster: $60,070

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Event coordinator: $45,810

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9. Photojournalist: $42,530

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10. Newspaper reporter: $37,090

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