What To Ask  And NOT To Ask  In a Job Interview

It’s not just the answers you give during a job interview that can determine whether or not you get the offer of your dreams. Sometimes, its the questions you ask.

Staffing firm giant Robert Half International, Inc., recently worked with OfficeTeam to survey human resources managers for their most surprising question from an interviewee. Their answers will likely surprise you, too.

For example, job seekers actually asked:

  • Do I have to be at work every day?
  • Would you consider going on a date with me?
  • Is the boss single?
  • What color is the paint in this office?
  • Do you want to take a ride in my new car?
  • What are the women who work here like?
  • Do you allow midday naps?
  • How much time do I have to put in?
  • Can I set my own hours?
  • What job is this for?


No matter how incredibly well an interview progresses, these kinds of questions demonstrate a marked lack of awareness – and they will tank your chances faster than you can say itanic.

However, an informed, observant, intelligent candidate who has done his or her homework will ask the kind of questions that demonstrate they’re a serious, self-starter type of candidate who wants to gather information and decide if this job is right for them.

Since that’s the type of candidate you want to be, you’ll want to ask questions like these:

When I researched your agency, I learned [fill in the blank]. Can you tell me more about that?

Review the agencys website, search for recent news articles about them online, and read up on key personnel on LinkedIn, Twitter and sites like Glassdoor. When you learn as much as you can about the organization, you can weave your knowledge into your answers and your questions interviewers will be impressed by your resourcefulness and interest.


What types of training and development programs do you offer?

This is the one forward-looking question that is okay to ask before you are hired. It tells the hiring manager that you are the type of professional who is interested in growing in your field and expanding your abilities.


For someone starting in this type of position, what might be some potential career paths within your company?

This type of question demonstrates a desire to grow within the company, plus sends a clear message that you are goal-oriented and career minded.  Replacing personnel costs far more than keeping them, so showing that you’re interested in a long-term employment can be very helpful.


Why is this job open?

When you want to know more about the culture and inner workings of a department or work group, ask for details about your predecessors exit. Were they promoted? Or is this a brand new position? On the other hand, if the answer is that the previous person is no longer with the company, you might want to gently push for more information. This could be a red flag that there are deeper organizational issues in play.


What do you enjoy most about working here?

When you ask this question of an individual interviewer, pay close attention to how they respond. A good interviewer who is also a satisfied employee will describe what they like about their job. They’ll talk up their company, and they’ll respond quickly, enthusiastically, and in detail. They’ll want to win you over. Beware the awkward pause and the vague, lukewarm responses: they’re very likely a sign of trouble.

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