Interviewing can be a tricky skill to master. But with a shifting job market, a person can find themselves doing it more frequently than they use to. Maybe it’s been five years or more since your last interview, or perhaps you are on your fifth one this month. Either way, a solid refresher on what not to ask in an interview is worth the review.
People may think of an interview as an employer asking a potential employee a bunch of career-relevant questions, but a better way to think of it is a two-way conversation. While there are laws that limit the type of questions an interviewer can ask, no regulations are stopping you from sharing too much. Here are some questions you should avoid to protect your privacy and keep from sending the wrong message.
How much will I get paid?
Straight out of the box this is the worst thing you can ask in early interviews. Once you have moved into high consideration for the position, this will be at the core of negotiations. The original job listing should contain an indicator of the salary range for reference.
Do you offer extensive health care benefits?
A company representative is not legally allowed to ask about the current state of your health during the interview process. Inquiring about anything other than the presence of benefits may signal that you required frequent medical attention or that a dependant might. If quality and plentiful health care is a significant requirement for you, do your research through online company reviews sites to get a general idea of what they offer.
How many vacation and sick days do I get?
You haven’t even gotten the job yet, and you are asking about how much time you can take off? In some company cultures, this can be a negative signal. If a company has a vacation structure that is anything outside of industry average they will usually pitch it to you in the interview as a perk.
Will I get a company car and credit card?
In some cases, companies will provide credit lines, vehicles and other amenities to employees to help ease the burden of travel or work/life balance. There are wise ways of finding out this information without coming across as a non-team player. One easy way is to ask how the employee expenses tracked and reconciled.
Will there be a drug test?
This is a huge red flag. At no time should anyone ask this question in the interview process. You have to assume all companies will test, as they believe all employees follow state and federal laws.
Is there an HR department for employee dispute resolutions?
Asking anything about problem resolution gives the impression that you might be a troublemaker or have a history of at-work conflicts. Should any issue arise, employees are protected by work and labor laws.
Does the company offer a competitive severance package?
Depending on your work history, asking any question regarding your departure from the company may give the impression that you are a job hopper, or have a hard time keeping your jobs.
How quickly are people promoted here?
Upward mobility is desired at any job. Showing initiative to climb the ladder is a positive, but stay focused on the job you are being interviewed for. You will have plenty of time to knock em’ dead with your performance on the job and get that bonus or promotion.
It’s essential to ask questions during your interview process. It communicates that you are curious and thorough. Avoiding these situations, or any other questions that might allow you to be discriminated against, is critical. It’s always best to have a list of questions prepared so that you don’t speak before you think. Good luck!