Open Mouth, Insert Foot: 10 Interview-Killer Questions

Posted by Lizandra Vega on May 6, 2011
Open Mouth, Insert Foot: 10 Interview-Killer Questions
If you ask one of these ten questions in an interview, you'll not only look flighty, but also most likely ensure an instant "no."

1. What sorts of growth opportunities does this company offer?

Growth opportunities are influenced by your proven work perfor­mance. Therefore, it is difficult to answer this question since you haven’t yet demonstrated your worth.

2. What types of bonuses or perks are there associated with this position?
Asking about bonuses or perks is similar to having a waiter or waitress ask how much you will be tipping before you sit down.

3. Who is your medical and dental insurance carrier and what are my co-pays?

Your goal is to show that you are interested in learning about the job and its duties and responsibilities instead of getting ahead of yourself by asking questions that are more appropriate once you’re offered the job.

4. What is your sick day policy?

If this one of your most pressing questions, it might be assumed that you are either a hypochondriac or love to head to the beach in 90-degree weather.

5. Is it really necessary for me to fill out this application since everything is explained on my résumé?
This is just the “writing on the wall” to all of the other policies and procedures you will try to circumvent. Don’t be difficult; follow instructions and stop complaining about the print being too small.

6. How much lead time do I have before the drug test screening?
Are you kidding? Can you be a little less obvious?

7. What day of the week does everyone get together for happy hour?
Okay, you social bee, this is really telling of just how much of an extrovert you are. Will you take over as the office chatterer and gossipmonger? Remember, you’re being hired to work, not to socialize. Even if it’s after hours, the fact that you’re asking about happy hour gives the impression that it’s a criteria for choosing your next job.

8. Is there a waiting period before I am eligible for vacation time?
You haven’t even started and you’re already thinking about taking time off? This question is even more absurd when asked by someone who is currently unemployed. This question is liable to extend your unemployment vacation more than anything else.

9. How do I know your company won’t be closing its doors in a year’s time?
This is such a confrontational question, and, by the way, as I said earlier, who has a crystal ball to know such things?

10. Is this a female- and minority-owned company? I’ve never seen so many in one company.
Talk about sounding politically incorrect and ignorant. Keep any such observations to yourself even if you’re in favor of working in a diverse environment.

Excerpted from
The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want by Lizandra Vega. Copyright © 2010 Lizandra Vega. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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