You’ve breezed through your interview, answering all the questions the hiring manager threw at you with confidence, but wait—your interview isn’t over yet.
At the end of every interview, you will be asked “Do you have any questions?” Your answer should never be no! This is a test and an opportunity.
Asking questions demonstrates that the company and job are important to you, you have done research about company, and you would be a great asset. However, you need to ask the right questions or you risk sabotaging your application.
Here are some of the most cringe-worthy questions our recruiters have heard and what you can ask instead to learn more and make a better impression.
Don’t ask: What will I be doing?
Avoid any questions that sound like you didn’t look through the job description before applying. If you aren’t clear on certain aspects of the job, let your interviewer know that you would like clarification on anything listed.
Instead try: Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities?
Whether they give you examples of projects you’ll be working on or walk you through a typical day on the job, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect.
Don’t ask: Can you tell me more about your company?
This question could make you sound thoughtful and reflective—or could show your interviewer you did no research before the interview. Read up on the company’s history, leadership, and mission and prepare to ask a question that shows you’ve done your homework.
Instead try: I’ve read that the company’s mission is X, how do you see this position contributing to the success of that?
Not only will this question give you good insight on what your role will be supporting, but it will show your interviewer that you care about the bigger picture.
Don’t ask: Why did you decide to interview me?
Resist the urge to fish for compliments and reinforce why you think the company is interested in hiring you. Your goal is not to find out why they think you’re the best for the job, but what attributes you have or should obtain that will be crucial for the role.
Instead try: What skills are needed to excel in this position?
This shows that you care about excellence and have a commitment to building your skillset for the benefit of the company.
Don’t ask: What other jobs are available and when can I apply?
The interviewer is interested in filling the position you applied for and is looking for a candidate who wants the job, not someone just looking for a way in with the company.
Instead try: What is the typical career trajectory for a person in this position?
Rarely is anyone stuck in a position with no room for growth so ask a question that appropriately reflects your curiosity.
Don’t ask: What is the salary and how much paid time off will I get?
While these are important questions, asking about compensation and benefits makes it sound like you’re only interested in the perks and aren’t concerned with whether or not you will be a good fit for the position. This is a big deal to your interviewer since people who aren’t engaged with their job don’t stay long, usually abandoning the position within a year or two.
Instead try: Nothing. Negotiate pay and benefits at a later stage in the hiring process.
Don’t ask: Do you conduct background checks or drug tests before hiring?
If you thought this question was going to help you sound knowledgeable and prepared for the hiring process, think again. Their first assumption will be that you have something to hide, which is never a good spot to be in as a potential employee.
Instead try: Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
If you are trying to get a head start on what else you may have to do, it’s okay to ask what you can do to help facilitate the hiring process.
Asking the right questions can be just as tricky as giving the right answers. Next interview you get, be sure you are ready for both!