Toward the end of an interview, almost every employer will ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" This question may seem like nothing more than a polite gesture. However, it’s one of the most important parts of a job interview.
Ask the right questions, and you’ll leave the interview with a much better sense of the job and the company. Ask the wrong ones, and you might wind up putting yourself out of contention for the job.
Whether you intend it or not, each question you ask has the potential to reflect your knowledge of the company, your interest in the position, and your work ethic. That's why it's important to take the time to come up with thoughtful interview questions.
On the flip side, there are some questions that it's never appropriate to ask your interviewer. Learn which questions to ask and which to avoid. You’ll find out what you need to know about the organization and make the best possible impression on the hiring manager.
Watch Now: 7 Questions You Should Ask Employers
Can I Do This Job From Home?
If you are interviewing for a telecommuting job, the job description would have said so. Asking to work from home implies that you dislike working with others, you do not work well under direct supervision, or you have a difficult schedule to work around. Occasionally, employees who have held a position for a long period are allowed to telecommute, but this is not a concession you should ever ask for in a first interview.
What Does Your Company Do?
Avoid asking any questions about the company that you could have researched beforehand on the company website. These questions demonstrate that you have not done your homework and imply that you are not truly interested in the position. Remember that hiring managers want candidates who are enthusiastic about this specific role and employer—not just any open job.
When Can I Take Time off for Vacation?
Don't discuss previous commitments before being offered a position. Asking about time off before getting a job offer implies that you are not going to be a fully committed employee. There will be plenty of time to negotiate time off once you’ve received an offer.
Did I Get the Job?
This question puts employers on the spot and makes you appear impatient. Instead, you could ask for more information on the next step in the hiring process. For example, you can ask, "Do you generally do multiple rounds of interviews with job candidates?" However, if they are interested in you, most employers will give you this information before the end of the interview.
What Is the Salary for This Position?
Do not ask this question on a first interview. If you know that you will refuse a job that pays less than a certain amount, you can and should state the amount in your cover letter. However, if you are even somewhat flexible regarding salary, it is best not to discuss compensation until you are offered a position.
What Are the Weekly Hours and Do I Work Weekends?
Questions about hours and extra work imply that you are hoping to work as little as possible. A better question would be, "What is a typical workday like?" The answer will likely give you insight into expected work hours.
How Long Would I Have to Wait to Get Promoted?
This question implies that you are not interested in the position for which you are applying and that you are merely waiting to move on to something better. Instead, you could ask the employer, "What are some of the opportunities for growth at this company?"
What Type of Health Insurance Does This Company Offer?
Wait until you are offered the position before you begin asking questions about benefits. However, if there is a benefit that you require from a job (such as a particular type of health insurance, a daycare program, etc.), bring it up with human resources rather than the interviewer.
More Questions to Refrain From Asking
- Can I see the break room?
- How late can I be to work without getting fired?
- How long is lunch?
- Can I bring my dog to work?
- Will I have to take a drug test?
- Does this company monitor Internet usage?
- How many warnings do you get before you are fired?