5 Questions You Should Never Ask in Your Job Interview

  | 4 min read
job interview

Towards the end of most interviews, it is common practice for interviewers to wrap up the job interview by asking you if you have any question to ask. As a job applicant, you should not wave this aside by channelling all your energy into responding to questions alone. While you are expected to respond to questions with insightful answers, you are also expected to ask intelligent questions. Especially when asked.

Never forget that all through the duration of a job interview, the interviewer never stops assessing you. Therefore, you should focus on asking questions that reflect your knowledge of the company, your interest in the position, your experience as well as your personal work ethics. Here are 5 questions you should never ask an employer during an interview.

1. Can I Work From Home?

job interview

Unless this was mentioned in the initial job description, don’t bring it up. Asking to work from home might indicate that you do not work well under direct supervision. It could also be interpreted to mean that you dislike working/collaborating with others. It could even be seen to mean that you have a difficult schedule to work around. You don’t want any of these scenarios playing out in the thoughts of the interviewer because as minute as it might seem. It can cost you the job. If you want to work from home, wait till you are hired. When you will have shown that you are truly productive, some companies might be flexible enough to allow you to work from home. However, during the interview, just focus on selling yourself so that you can get hired for the role.

2. Who is Your Main Competitor?

This is a kind of question that clearly shows that you lack the basic knowledge of what the company is all about. This question makes you come across as unserious. Worse still, you can be viewed as the kind of person who takes things for granted. Before the interview, ensure that you have conducted thorough research about the company.  It’s competitors, relative strengths, weaknesses and key opportunities amongst other important things. Now, instead of asking this question during the interview, you could demonstrate how well you understand the organisation’s competitors. This can be done by coming up with questions and strategies that are designed to help the company become even better.

3. When Will I Get a Salary Raise?

job interview pay rise

Talking about when you should expect a salary raise draws you into the risk of indirectly telling the interviewer that money is the only thing you care about. Instead of a question like this, you can ask:

  • What characteristics are crucial for career advancement in this company?
  • What type of employees are considered top performers in this organisation? 

These sort of questions go a long way in portraying you to be an employee who has the genuine interest of the organisation at heart rather than being seen as one who is solely driven by financial gains.

4. Will I Have to Work Long Hours?

This question will almost certainly be interpreted from a negative perspective. If you ask questions about what might be perceived as your unwillingness to put in extra hours, then you might end up shooting yourself in the foot.

As much as you can, try to avoid questions that lures the interviewer into seeing you that employee who will end up being lazy and eventually slow the team down.

If you must ask about working hours, then you might as well rephrase it as:

“If you were to hire me, what should I expect on a typical day?”. What this question does is that it shows your eagerness about the position as well as your enthusiasm to contribute to the team. It also gives you a clearer picture of what your job would entail on a daily basis.

5. How Many Vacation/Sick Days Do I Get?

job interview vacation

This can be an awkward one for you – Asking about vacation and sickness when you haven’t even been hired. For some companies, this will be considered a negative signal. The interviewer might perceive you as someone who will not be focused on your work. You risk being seen as someone who focuses too heavily on time spent off work. If a company has a vacation structure that is anything outside of industry average, they will usually bring it up during the interview.

Mustapha Mosha
Mustapha Ally is a Community Marketing Manager at Zoom Tanzania and BrighterMonday Tanzania. He loves digital marketing social media