7 questions that make interviewers wince

Posted by on

“Do you have any questions for me?” This is something you’re bound to be asked towards the end of an interview. 

It’s a chance to show that you’ve done your homework, and find out if the job - as well as the company - are a good fit for you.

As well as having some insightful, thoughtful questions ready for your interviewer, it’s also worth knowing no-go things to ask. These include probing for information that you could have easily found out online, or questions that suggest you’re unprofessional or more interested in the benefits than the role itself. Read more on what to steer clear of...

1 "What does your company do?"

When it comes to foolish questions, this may just top the list. In an interview you want to show that you’ve done your homework about the company and the role, so asking this one would be a guaranteed deal-breaker.

There’s no excuse for turning up without knowing the basics on a company. This is what the internet was invented for!

2 "Will I have to work long hours?"

Most of us would rather not stay late at work every night, but in many jobs it’s a given now and again.

So there’s no quicker way to show a poor work ethic during an interview than to balk at a long-hours work culture. Of course, it’s fine to ask about the general hours you’d need to work, but make it clear that you’re dedicated enough to muck in to get things done when needed. In many roles, being a team player is everything.

3 "How often would I have an appraisal?"

This question suggests you’re either super-keen to get feedback on the progress you’re making, or more likely you’re feeling worried about your performance before you’ve even got the job. 

To avoid making a bad impression, keep any questions about the company’s review policies until you have a job offer and are settling into the role.

4 "Are there any other roles available here?"

One way to shatter the interview vibe? Turn the spotlight away from the job you’re going for and ask about another role. 

You want to make the interviewer feel that this job is the only one you’re into. Discussing other openings isn’t just unprofessional, but it’ll make any potential boss question your commitment to the whole recruitment process.

5 "Why did the last person leave this role?"

Who wouldn’t like to know what happened to a predecessor? But frankly it’s none of your business, and has nothing to do with whether you’re a good fit for the role.

Probing like this will generate concern as it’ll give the interviewer the sense that you’re unprofessional and motivated by gossip - red flags when it comes to finding a great employer.

6 "What are the benefits like?"

The purpose of the interview? To judge if you’re a good fit for the role and company (and vice versa), not for you to find out what you can get out of the company.

Of course, it’s crucial to find out about annual leave, flexible working opportunities and other benefits at some point. But it’s better to wait until you have a job offer.

7 "So, how did I do?"

If you’ve been trying to build a bond with your potential boss you might feel it’s OK to ask jokily how you got on at the end of the interview. 

But our advice at HR GO is to steer clear of this question. After all, it puts the interviewer on the spot - and your aim is to make them feel great about the prospect of hiring you as a valued member of their team, not so awkward they can’t wait for you to leave the room.

Recent blogs