15 questions to ask and 30 questions to avoid in interviews

Questions you should ask and shouldn’t ask in an interview

An interview is not meant to be a one-sided process where only the recruiter asks all the questions. It is ideally meant to be a two-sided communication process between a job seeker and a recruiter hence, giving you as the job seeker the authority to also ask questions. Knowing what questions you could be asked in an interview is simply one step to preparing for an interview. What kind of questions you ask during an interview makes an impression on the recruiter and plays an important role in determining whether you get hired.

Asking questions presents you with an opportunity to:

  • Showcase your interest in the job; the questions you ask enable a recruiter to assess your level of interest. Desist from asking obvious questions or questions that require, yes or no answers.
  • Find out more information about the company that could help you in determining whether or not you would want to work for this company.  Ask questions that will help you get relevant and detailed answers.
  • Enable you to get more information about the possible role you could be taking on in the company and what it entails.

Even when the recruiter does not invite you to ask questions, go ahead and ask a few questions. Do not ask too many questions but just a few that are well-thought of and could have a positive impact.

So, what exactly should you ask about in an interview?

1.The role you are being interviewed for;

Questions under this category are generally related to the role or job you are applying for. They enable you to get information about the role that may not be in the job description which you can use to further assess whether or not you should take it on. Such questions include:

  • Any additional information about this role that may not be stipulated in the job description?
  • What additional knowledge do I need to have to better perform this role?
  • How is the success in this role measured?
  • How can I succeed in this role?
  • What are the prospects of growing in this role?

2.The company you may work for;

Questions under this category are meant to help you get more information about the company and help you determine whether you want to work for the company or not. Such questions include;

  • How would you describe your organisational culture and work environment?
  • How has this company managed to consistently remain at the top?
  • How does one get ahead and grow in this company?
  • How is the performance in this organisation measured?
  • How are the structure and the reporting lines in this organisation organised?

3.The recruitment process and next steps after the interview;

These questions are usually directed to the person interviewing you. In as much as they are directed to the recruiter, they should be related to the recruitment process. Avoid questions that are too personal, inappropriate or would make them uncomfortable. Possible questions you could ask include:

  • When can I expect to get feedback about this interview?
  • What next after this stage of the interview?
  • When do you expect the successful candidate for the job offer to take on the role?
  • How do you expect to give feedback about this interview (will it be through a phone call or email)?
  • Who can I contact if I do not receive feedback in the communicated period of time?

Now that you know what to ask about, avoid questions that show:

1.You did not carry out research about the job or company:

A recruiter expects you to have some information about the company and role you are going to be interviewed for. Asking obvious questions that make you look like you did not research anything about the company could affect you negatively. Here are some obvious questions you should avoid:

  • What does the company do?
  • Who are your main company’s competitors?
  • What products do you deal in?
  • Do you have branches in other countries or places?
  • What am I supposed to do in this role?

2.You are more interested in the salary and benefits of the job than the job:

It is okay to inquire about what benefits and salary the offer is to give but not at this stage of the recruitment process. The best time to ask such questions is when you have got the offer and are negotiating your remuneration package

Asking these questions too early communicate to a recruiter that you are more interested in what the job has to offer than actually doing the job which is a negative perception for you. Stay away from questions such as:

  • How much salary does the job offer?
  • After how long can I request for a salary raise?
  • By what percentage is the salary in this company increased by annually?
  • What benefits do I get to enjoy as an employee of this company?
  • How much do the employees in this role earn?

3.You may be a risk to hire:

Your main goal in an interview should be to present yourself as the best fit for the job and not to raise questions about you. Do not ask questions that could make the recruiter suspicious. Such questions include:

  • Do you carry out background checks?
  • Do you monitor how the internet in the organisation is used?
  • Can I report to work at whatever time is best for me provided I get my work done in time?
  • Do I have to work very long hours?
  • Do you carry out abrupt drug or alcohol tests here?

4.You will be such a demanding employee:

Do not ask questions that may make a recruiter believe you may be difficult to work with and are a lot to handle. Remember that you have not been offered the job yet and therefore, do not have the right to demand anything or what the company does not provide to other employees. Such questions include:

  • Do I get my own office?
  • Do I have to always ask my boss for permission each time I have to do things?
  • I get regular back pains, can I have a specific chair made for me?
  • Do I have to dress up in the uniform each time I am selling to clients?
  • Does the company provide lunch or lunch allowances?

5.You like to intrude in other people’s lives:

In as much as you are allowed to direct some questions to a recruiter that may not necessarily be about the role or organisation, remember to be professional. Do not ask them questions such as:

  • How old are you?
  • Why are not married yet? Or Are you married?
  • How much does this company pay you?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Are you free later for a date?

6.You are not interested in the role you are being interviewed for:

Whatever questions you have to ask, always ensure they are relevant and are connected to the role you are being interviewed for. Avoid, diverting too far from the role as a recruiter may think you are interested in something else. Such questions include:

  • What other opportunities does the company have to offer?
  • How long do I have to be in this role?
  • After how long can I switch roles?
  • What tasks do the other roles advertised entailed?

Is it possible for me to apply for a department transfer after some time?

Asking irrelevant questions is as bad as not asking any questions. Exploit the opportunity to showcase your personality, analytical skills, communication skills and interest in the job through asking well-thought and relevant questions. They will go a long way in landing you your dream job.

 

26 replies
  1. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    I enjoyed reading these questions to ask or avoid. And some of them were funny. for example, will you be available for a date after the interview? Hahaha..

    Thank you. I have been looking for a job for a while now. hopefully I wont be funny in the interview when called.
    God Bless Brighter Monday

    Reply
  2. Lubajja Bernald
    Lubajja Bernald says:

    I’m so grateful because i have been greatly ignorant about what takes place at an interview.Now figure out almost all of it.

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth Komukyeya Kaboyo
    Elizabeth Komukyeya Kaboyo says:

    Thank you very much BrighterMonday! I am ardent reader of your column, I am truly grateful for all the useful Tips you offer.

    Reply

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