While not asking any questions during the interview is a bad sign to employers, asking the wrong questions may completely ruin your chances.
Be wary of asking questions that show you haven’t done enough research or those that show you’re only interested in what the company can provide you.
Below are some questions to stay away from to avoid landing in the reject pile:
1. “Are there any opportunities for me to move to other departments in the future?”
If you ask this question, you might as well tell the employer “I am not completely interested in this role.” You might think this question shows you as an all-rounder and someone who is happy to do what the company needs, but when you apply for a role, you are expected to be fully committed to it if you are hired.
Ask this instead: “What is the next promotional opportunity for the role, and what would the career path look like?”
2. “What makes your company different from your competitors?”
They might have asked you “what sets you apart from other candidates” but now’s not the time to turn the tables on the employers (if ever). When you apply for a company, you are expected to have done basic research on what sets their products and services apart from their competitors. Asking this question will only show you as someone who is ill-informed (even if you aren’t).
Skip asking this question entirely and instead conduct extensive research on the company as well as their competitors before the interview. Doing so will not only help you prepare for the nature of the industry but you can also demonstrate your interest by asking more substantial questions about what they do.
3. “Can you give me feedback on how I did for this interview?”
Though your intention may be to display yourself as someone who is open to feedback, this question might have the opposite reaction. Asking this puts the interviewer in an awkward position. They might assume that you are fishing for validation. Do understand that hiring managers may need an internal discussion and some time to review the interview before making a hiring decision.
Ask this instead: “What is your ideal candidate for this position?”
This question lets the interviewer further describe the person they are looking for for this role. You can then take this opportunity to relate the qualities they mentioned to your own strengths and qualifications, further cementing your relevance for the position.
Keep in mind that timing is vital for this question. We recommend that you keep this question until the very end. Asking this question too early on will seem like you’re requesting a cheat sheet.
Other questions to avoid because they can paint you as someone who is only interested in how the company benefits them are:
• “Can I work from home?”
• “What is the salary for this job?”
• “What are your benefits?”
• “How many leaves would I get?”
Never ask these questions during your first interview unless brought up by the employer. Though it’s completely understandable to want fair compensation, initiating these topics too early on might put you in a bad light.
To make a good impression, it’s important that you first demonstrate the value you can bring to the organization so that they will consider you for the role in the first place. The details of employment can come after you’ve made it to the next stage of the interview process.
The employer will usually bring up details of the employment at the final interview or in writing when they issue the offer letter. As long as you haven’t signed the letter, you can still try negotiating the terms with the employer.