To Ask or Not to Ask: DON’T Use These Questions in Your Interview

When you think about preparing for a job interview, you are usually mentally reviewing questions you could be asked, not questions that you yourself could ask an interviewer. However, many interviewers and/or potential employers welcome an applicant asking questions, as long as those questions fall within an appropriate and acceptable realm. Ask something out of line, and you could have just cost yourself a job offer. Unfortunately, several offensive, or at the very least, unfavorable, questions get asked repeatedly, and interviewers have let us in on some thinks not to ask at your next interview:

“So, what’s the salary?”

If salary or pay scale wasn’t mentioned in the original job description, chances are it isn’t something you’ll be finding out at the interview. Sometimes pay rate is determined based on experience and education and will have to be tailored to the selected applicant, and other times it’s simply kept “under wraps” because the employer wants quality workers who genuinely desire the job itself, not just the paycheck. Regardless of reasoning, let salary be brought up by the interviewer, not by you.

“Is there a flexible schedule? (Or anything related to telecommuting, part-time hours, etc.)

Coming into the interview already trying to find ways around spending time in the office is not a great way to get off on the right foot with a potential employer. Avoid bringing up anything regarding altering the set work schedule at your interview. Questions about the schedule itself are fine (what are the typical hours for lunch, how long is lunch, are there set breaks during the day, etc.) but asking if you can work some of your hours from home, if you can drop back to part-time hours in the future, etc. is definitely something to save until you are a more seasoned, established employee.

“How is the work environment?”

No interviewer will tell an applicant that the company is terrible to work for, office morale is down, gossip is an issue, etc. Just like your job is to make yourself as marketable as possible for your interview, their job is to put on the best front possible for the company that they represent. This question simply has no place in an interview. If you truly want to get an idea of the office environment, pay attention to details during your interview. Do employees seem content to be at work, or does everyone seem miserable and ready to clock out? Are there supervisors barking orders and offering harsh treatment, or do people interact with respect and positivity. Doing your own investigation will let you know if you’ll be ready to accept an interview if it comes your way, but asking this frowned-upon question could mean you never even get a call back.

“When do I start?” (or any variation of this question)

While often meant as a joke, this question and any like it comes across as presumptive, arrogant, and even rude. If you are in a highly professional interview, it’s best to leave the jokes at home anyway, but even if the interviewer is semi-casual and the interview is conversational, this joke just isn’t funny, and could cost you a job.

We understand that prepping for an interview is one of the most stressful parts of your job search. That’s why PHR Staffing Solutions is here to support you through every step of the process. From application to post-hire support, we help you execute each step of getting hired with confidence, attention to detail, and professionalism. Give us a call and find out how we can help you jumpstart your career, or apply for one of our current openings right here on our site.