It’s fairly well understood that the worst question to ask at interview is no question at all. All the same, while you want to be keen and show real interest in the role and the company, there are a few questions worth avoiding if you want the job of your dreams.
What does your company do?
One of the most important things you need to arrive armed with is knowledge of the company you’re applying to intern or work for. Employers assume that you know important information about them. Asking this question indicates that you didn’t take the time to research those things, which sends a message to the employer that you don’t care. A general rule is never to ask a question when you could find the answer with a bit of research.
Do you look at what I do on Twitter and Facebook?
While a valid concern in today’s culture, this is something best left unsaid as you’ll come across as somebody who is worried about what you have posted on your social profiles. It goes without saying that you should never post anything about your company, co-workers, or employers anywhere on the internet. And if you’re worried about potential employers looking at your social media profiles, make sure you have used the appropriate privacy settings.
Can I book a holiday?
You aren’t even in the office yet, and this question makes it seem like you’re already trying to figure out how you can get out of it. Asking about getting time off before you even get a job offer just implies that you aren’t going to be fully committed to your position, and makes you a less desirable candidate.
What time would I have to arrive in the morning?
Not only is this like admitting that you’re punctually challenged, it shows your future boss that you’re more interested in your daily schedule than the actual work. Stay away from questions about logistics. This also applies to “How long is lunch?”
When will I be promoted?
While ambition is a good thing, opportunism really isn’t. You haven’t got the job you applied for yet, let alone one a level or two up. Balance talk about potential futures and possible career prospects with your excitement over the role you’re there to interview for, even if you think you could do it with your eyes closed.
What will I get paid?
It’s natural to want to know how much you could make, but it’s a better question for after you’ve been offered the job. That is, if the employer doesn’t bring it up themselves before then. The interview should centre on the work you’ll be doing, and what you’ve got that means you’re the stand-out match for the company and the role.
Will I have to take a drug test or do a background check?
Don’t even bring this one up, as it suggests there might be a problem and that won’t help your interview go well. You’ll be told in good time if it’s company policy to do a check, and why.
That’s your list of what not to ask. So if you take a look at our graduate jobs and internships we have available, you’ll know the questions to avoid when we will (hopefully) ask for that first face-to-face interview.