Picture the scene:
An eager interviewee has survived the barrage of questions. They have successfully evaded the obvious pitfalls, the all too familiar traps and have triumphantly navigated their way to the moment they get the chance to interview the interviewer.
“Do you have any questions for us?”
Suddenly, the interviewee lackadaisically mumbles – or perhaps – blurts out a question which is met with obvious distaste from the hiring manager.
Their grin transforms into a focused gurn as they prepare to close the interview, safe in the knowledge that our plucky jobseeker is not the right candidate.
So what went wrong?
The truth is, no matter how well you perform in an interview, your chances could be squandered in seconds if you ask one of the following questions:
1. What do you guys do again?
After an entire meeting spent discussing the opportunity, learning about the company and demonstrating your ability to meet their requirements, the last thing a hiring manager wants to hear is a question about what the business actually does.
This shows a complete disinterest in the particular employer and highlights your motives for applying in the first place: a job’s a job. Unsurprisingly, that’s not what an employer is looking for.
2. Who are your competitors?
This question further showcases your lack of research into the company prior to the interview.
While those new to the market can’t be expected to understand the particular landscape and the challenges associated, it isn’t difficult to do a quick Google search of the businesses occupying the same space as your potential employer.
Ask this question and be prepared to be met with an eye-roll.
3. When can I expect a promotion / pay rise?
Most budding candidates make sure to ask a hiring manager what will be expected of them in their first three months of employment.
This shows their intent to prove their worth and exceed expectations. On the other hand, those who ask when they can expect their next salary bump before even getting the job will score themselves a one-way ticket to the “not successful on this occasion” email.
4. Is this going to take long?
Considering the fact that you made this application with the intention of landing a job interview, asking how long the meeting will take comes across as rude and signals to the hiring manager that you value your time above theirs and have more urgent places to be.
If you really couldn’t reschedule a doctors appointment, for example, apologize for any inconvenience and make your interviewer aware of the circumstances.
5. Will I have to work outside of my hours?
The interview could be going swimmingly until a candidate pops this question. While it’s important to ensure a good work/life balance, effectively telling a potential employer that you’re only committed from 9am to 5pm isn’t going to convince them that you’re right for the job.
Instead, it highlights your lack of interest, motivation and dedication to getting the job done right.
6. Do you do background checks?
Looking for an instant way to raise a red flag with a potential employer? This is it.
Even if you have nothing to hide and are just curious as to whether you need to disclose any background information, there are better ways to ask.
They say first impressions are everything, but ending your interview by drawing attention to a possible criminal record is a sure-fire way to getting a big red ‘X’ over your CV.
7. I don’t have any questions
For most hiring managers, a candidate who has no questions at all regarding a prospective future employer is a little concerning.
After all, if successful, this will be their place of work and where they spend most of their time.
The majority of us would prefer to know the ins and outs of the company before accepting an offer, and an interview is the perfect time to find out more.
Perhaps all your queries were covered in the interview, but if this is a case, make it clear! After all, “Thanks, but you’ve covered everything I had in mind” leaves a much better impression than “I don’t know” or “No, thanks.”