What NOT To Ask In An Interview (as a Job Seeker)

Years ago, in 2006, I had an interview. At the end I asked questions about working at the company. Could you tell me about the health insurance? What about vacation? What about non-vacation time off?

I wanted to get a feel for the company culture, how they treated and respected their employees, etc.  After all, as a job seeker, I’m checking the company out as much as the company is checking me out, right?

Yes, right. Sure. Uh huh.  Except here’s the problem: my questions made me look like I was high maintenance, not a team player, and maybe I didn’t really want the job.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t know what you are getting into, but I do want you to focus on the task at hand (being on display, answer the questions correctly, etc.).

Does that sound one-sided?

In many cases, it is.  If you are an unemployed job seeker, your sense of urgency to replace your paycheck is much, much higher than an employers sense of urgency to hire the right person (trust me, they don’t want drama).

susan_joyce_headshotSusan Joyce wrote a great post on Job-Hunt.org, giving 45 examples of questions to NOT ask in your job interview, and why you shouldn’t. Check it out here: 45 Questions You Should NOT Ask in a Job Interview

So here’s the problem… you really want to know the answers to some of these questions.  You should know the answers, really, before you get into an employment relationship.

My message is simply this: get the answers from the right people at the right time.  That might mean you get answers from people you network with instead of asking the interviewer.  It might mean you look it up on Glassdoor, or LinkedIn. You need to realize that the questions you ask are part of your interview… it’s part of how they judge you. You can ask questions about vacations and bonuses, but what does that say about you?

Be careful, and figure out when and where to get the answers you need.