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4 Questions You Should Never Ask During a Job Interview

4 Questions You Should Never Ask During a Job Interview
Credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

When you're going on a job interview, you know you should prepare to answer the interviewer's questions about your background and experience. But are you ready to ask the right questions when your interviewer turns the table?

Business News Daily has compiled a list of questions you should never ask during a job interview, and what you should ask instead to get the information you want.

Why you shouldn't ask it: While eagerness to advance is an admirable quality, asking this question can give the impression that you won't be focused on the job you're actually interviewing for, said Adam Robinson, co-founder and CEO of hiring software company Hireology.

"No employer with any credibility is going to guarantee [a promotion] timeline, so you won't really learn anything by asking it," he said. "Asking this question is all downside."

What to ask instead: "How have you been able to progress your career here?"

Asking about your interviewer's career can give you a better idea of the growth opportunities at the company in a more indirect way. [See Related Story: 10 Things You Should Never Do During a Job Interview]

Why you shouldn't ask it: This question shows the interviewer that you didn't take the time to do your homework and properly research the company.

"It indicates to me that a candidate is not actually passionate about what we do and essentially casted a wide net to whomever would respond to their job search," said Leilani Lucero, recruiting manager at Justworks, a provider of payroll, benefits and compliance services.

What to ask instead: "What are you currently working on that you're most excited about?"

By asking about specific projects, you can get a better sense of the company's priorities and everyday operations. Plus, if the interviewer's project is something you have experience with, you have an opening to further discuss your qualifications.

Why you shouldn't ask it: While an interview is your opportunity to see if a company is the right fit for you, it's important to approach it with humility, said Alexis Joseph, head of talent at Rocket Lawyer.

"Candidates that demand an explanation for their personal choice to set up an interview or explore a company can come across as pompous and entitled," Joseph added.

What to ask instead: "What do you love most about working here?"

"This is a great way to engage your interviewer and keep your time together conversational and honest," Joseph told Business News Daily. "Any recruiter or interviewer that declines to move you forward, simply because you are curious about what life is truly like at the company, speaks volumes about the culture."

Why you shouldn't ask it: As a job candidate, it's not a good idea to ask about salary, benefits, hours or flexibility during the first interview, Robinson said.

"You want the manager to remember you for the thoughtful discussion about their business, and not about the questions you asked about insurance co-pays," he said. "Leave the benefits-related questions for the final stages of the process, after you've cleared the first hurdles."

"This information will naturally emerge during the interview process, and actively asking about these things could make an interviewer question whether you're interested in the job for the right reasons," added Jesse Siegal, a vice president at The Execu|Search Group.

Robinson added that, depending on the company, a lot of this information is publicly available on sites such as Glassdoor, so you may not have to ask about it at all.

What to ask instead: "What is the company culture/office environment like?"

This is a somewhat clichéd question to ask during an interview, but it can frame these difficult topics in a way that gets you the most information without directly asking, Lucero said.

Similarly, Siegal advised asking questions that relate to the company and the team you're seeking to join.

"These questions will help you get the most important information about the position and organization, and if the hiring manager truly wants to bring you on board, they will likely volunteer details about salary, vacation time, the office schedule and other logistical matters," he said.

Did you have a great job interview? Check out our guide for following up the right way.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.