Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

What NOT to Ask in a Job Interview

We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of an important job interview, and you say something stupid and unrecoverable. Usually, recruiters and managers let a slip or two slide. After all, they know all about interview nerves.

But you know what else has happened? You’ve unknowingly asked equally stupid interview questions when it’s your turn.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent that from happening, and it starts with your interview prep. Before a job interview, research the company. Don’t just look at their products and services, check out their mission statement and look to see if they’ve made the news recently. Also try to find out how they’ve evolved over the years. From the information you find on the company, you’ll be able to ask insightful questions when the time allows.

However, there are sure to be other questions on your mind. In addition to asking smart questions about the company, you need to prepare these more random questions as well. After all, bad wording of a question could lead the recruiter or hiring manager to get the wrong idea about you.

For example, TIME provided an article on bad questions that interviewees ask — one of which was, “Do I have to come to work every day?” What that particular applicant was probably trying to ask about was work from home or flextime opportunities. But with interview nerves and little preparation, the question came out all wrong.

Another question from the same article was, “What are the women who work here like?” Now, it’s not hard to imagine the motives behind this question, and an applicant like that should be quickly shown the door.

Some interviewees on the other hand might legitimately want to know about their coworkers when considering a job opportunity. After all, the workplace is also becoming more of a social outlet for some employees. With that, interviewees can ask about the company culture, social dynamic of the team and what is done to foster great working relationships between coworkers.

Finally, you may have a question about the dress code. But do not ask, “Is it OK to wear shorts to work?” First, when you arrive for the interview, take a look at what the other employees are wearing and then ask if what you see is a correct representation of the dress code. If you don’t see any current employees because you’re meeting off-site for the interview, casually ask about the dress code — is it casual, business casual or a professional work environment?

Preparing your interview questions beforehand is just as vital as working on your interview answers. You’re being judged on the questions you ask just as you are on the answers. Don’t blow your chance at a great job with a dumb question.

What are some great questions you can ask in a job interview? Share now in our comments!

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.