5 things to never ask in 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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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