When you’re in a job interview and the hiring manager asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”, this is your moment to shine. After conducting countless interviews throughout my career in staffing, I’ve heard many questions that oftentimes make the interviewee come off as unprepared, and sometimes even desperate. Before you head to a job interview, avoid asking the following questions:
1. “May I borrow a pen?”
This screams unorganized and perhaps not interested. I cannot stress how important it is to BE PREPARED!
- Try this instead: “May I take notes while we talk?”
This is good interview etiquette. Invest in a neat portfolio from your local office supply store and stock it with paper, several copies of your resume and two pens. Check your portfolio the night before to make sure you have everything needed.
2. “What does your company do?”
With these answers so easily accessible online, there’s no reason anyone should ever ask this question! Candidates who don’t research the company beforehand, often come across as unprepared, technologically impaired or just plain lazy.
- Try this instead: In preparing for our conversation, I learned that your company specializes in this… but I had a few specific questions.
Ask a question that relates the position or department to the company, such as “I read the most recent press release or earnings report posted online and wanted to know, what are the financial goals for this department in the upcoming quarter?”
3. “Can I come in early or leave late as long as I get my hours in or hit my goals?”
While work-life balance is a very legitimate aspect in making a career decision, the hiring manager likely isn’t thinking about that right now. He or she is more interested in learning if you are the right match for their need.
- Try this instead: Could you share with me what a normal workday is like?
This shows you’re interested in the work that needs to be done. Always remember the company’s point of view – they’re looking for someone to fill a need. They’re typically not looking to fit into your schedule. That said, by asking this question, more often than not, you’ll be able to determine if the hours work for you. If it’s a flexible environment, it will likely come out through these conversations, but keep any concerns about the schedule until after you’ve received an offer.
4. “Do you monitor employees’ social networking profiles?”
Ask this question and the first response you may get from your interviewer will likely be, “why, what did you do?” Many recruiters these days are looking up candidates on social media and if you raise this red flag, the first thing the interviewer will likely do is start searching your background on social media.
- Try this instead: Say nothing!
Be smart. Check your social media profiles and Google your own name to see what’s out there regarding your background that may raise a red flag with a potential employer. Remember, marking something “private” doesn’t always mean someone can’t see it.
5. “How quickly will I have an opportunity to move ahead?”
While most employers may appreciate a driven professional who’s always ready to improve, they'll want to ensure you can do the job you were hired for first.
- Try this instead: “What kind of career development programs does your company offer employees that have proven themselves worthy of progression?"
This shows the hiring manager that you want to excel in the role they’re looking to fill. You’re demonstrating that you understand you have to prove yourself first, while at the same time indicating you’re interested in expanding your knowledge base and improving your skills.
6. "What's the salary for this position?”
Asking about salary (or benefits, for that matter) in the first interview is a big turn off for many hiring managers. While these are important things to consider in your next opportunity, the hiring manager likely sees it from a totally different perspective. They’re more focused on whether or not you’re going to be able to get the job done, and if you are the best fit for the team and organization.
- Try this instead: Focus on selling yourself during the first interview.
If they like you and you like them, there may be an offer in your future. That’s the time to get a better understanding of what perks the company has to offer.
Good luck…be prepared…and be AWESOME!
Tell us your thoughts on Twitter @kforce