What kind of questions should I not ask in an interview?



Dear Anonymous

Asking questions is crucial during an interview. From the interviewer’s perspective, a good question shows interest, curiosity, and intelligence. For the candidate, it’s the opportunity to see if the job posted is the job you actually want. Think of the questions stage as an information scavenger hunt. There are few times where a question is truly bad, but here are 3 pitfalls to avoid:


  • Asking questions that waste time: Generally if it’s something you can look up on Google (or search engine of your choice), it’s not a great interview question. These types of questions show a lack of preparation and don’t give you any additional insight when it comes to deciding whether you want to work at that company. Taking 15 minutes to learn about the company is important to creating well-thought out questions.


  • Asking questions that are directed at the wrong audience: Interviews are often made up of multiple rounds.  While I often leave 1 or 2 questions the same, usually focused on company culture to see what different people think, ideally most questions should not overlap. The questions you ask a recruiter should be different from the questions you ask hiring managers or people of other departments because they have different expertise and knowledge around how the role fits into the organization. Asking everyone the same questions, or good questions to the wrong people, leaves you with limited information to make your decision.


  • Asking only easy questions: It can be scary to ask the hard questions – what if they take me out of the running for asking? In my opinion, if that did happen, it’s probably not a company where you want to be. If the company just went through a lay-off, the role is at a startup which carries risk on its own, or a scandal was uncovered, it’s in your best interest to know where the company stands. Ultimately, you want to join a company you support and a job that is stable so you can do your best work.