You’re one of the lucky ones. You got past the screening process and got a real interview. It seems to be going well. You have fairly good answers to the interview questions and even feel a good chemistry with the hiring manager. At the end of the interview, you’re asked, “What questions do you have for us?” You think, “Who’s interviewing who here?” Whether you like it or not, the questions you ask are equally as important as the ones you answer and can make or break your chances of getting the job. They will create perceptions, true or not, about your interest, dedication, work ethic and even intelligence.
Just as important as spending time practicing answering possible interview questions, take time to think about questions you can ask. In fact, I always recommend bringing 3 questions to your interview just in case. As you make your list avoid these 10.
- What does the company do? – It should go without saying – Do your homework! Before your interview make sure you can at least speak to what the company does, like products and services and the details of position you’re interviewing for.
- How much vacation time will I get? – Interviewers often translate this question as you not wanting to work hard or make a commitment.
- How long is my lunch break? – Similar to the vacation question, this one can make you look like you’re more focused on taking a break than being a contributing member of the team.
- Can I wear shorts to work? – Even if you’re interviewing at a company that supports a casual environment, like a start-up, there’s no need to ask this in an interview (hopefully it’s not a deciding factor on whether you would accept a position or not). If you get the job, you will be informed of the dress code.
- Will I have to take a drug test? – Really? Do we need to even address this?
- Does this company monitor internet usage? – This is a hot topic in today’s companies and many have loosened it policies in response to the power of social media to their success. However, they are still concerned with the amount of time employees (especially younger employees) spend on non-work activities on the web. In fact, be aware that most companies have strict policies and security to “patrol” what employees are doing on the internet.
- How long do I have to work for before I can take a sick day? – This implies that you are not only focused on when you can take a day off, but will have a “I got food poisoning” or “a 24-hr bug” excuse in your back pocket for unplanned time off.
- What is the salary for this position? – This is an important question to ask, just not in the first interview. If you have a certain salary minimum that will impact you accepting a position, this should have been addressed in the screening process before the interview.
- How long will I have to be here before I can get promoted? – Although it’s important to have ambition and growth opportunity, asking this question in the first interview can be interpreted that you really don’t want the position you’re interviewing for. Instead you can ask, “What growth opportunities does the company have.”
- Will I have a view from my desk – There’s nothing worse than a windowless workspace, but asking this question screams, “I’m a pain in the ass and will drive you crazy with my ‘needs’.”