Six Questions You Should Never Ask at the Interview

bad interview questionsCandidates who ask these questions don't remain candidates for long

John Kador, author of "301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview"

What were they thinking? Whenever I talk to human-resources professionals or recruiters, I always ask them to tell me the worst question they were ever asked in a job interview. How could any applicant actually believe questions like these are in his interests?

Unfortunately, job seekers continue to ask dumb questions every day. These questions demonstrate poor judgment and effectively ensure their rejection.

It's hard to generalize about such stunningly bad interview questions, but they all are "me" questions. These are questions that appear to put your needs before those of the employer. The best interview questions focus on what the applicant can do for the company, not what the company can do for applicant.

-- Get ready for your interview. Know what the job pays.

Be certain that the questions you ask don't raise barriers or objections. For example, don't ask, "Is relocation a necessary part of the job?"

The very question raises doubts about your willingness to relocate. Even if the person selected for the position is not tracked for relocation, the negativity of the question makes the hiring manager wonder whether you are resistant in other areas as well.

If the issue of relocation is important to you, by all means ask, but go with a phrasing that reinforces your flexibility, not challenges it. A good approach: "I'm aware that relocation is often required in a career and I am prepared to relocate for the good of the company as necessary. Could you tell me how often I might be asked to relocate in a five- or 10-year period?"

Here are five more bad questions you might be tempted to ask and what hiring managers will think when they hear them:

What you ask: Is job-sharing a possibility?

What they think: Possibly, but does this mean you can't give us a commitment for full-time work?

What you ask: Can you tell me whether you have considered the incredible benefits of telecommuting for this position?

What they think: Why do you want to get out of the office before you have even seen it?

What you ask: I understand that employee paychecks are electronically deposited. Can I get my paycheck in the old-fashioned way?

What they think: You are already asking for exceptions. What's next? And are you afraid of technology?

What you ask: I won't have to work for someone with less education than I have, will I?

What they think: You clearly have a chip on your shoulder. Why should we take a chance that you don't have other interpersonal issues?

What you ask: The job description mentions weekend work. Are you serious?

What they think: We're serious about the job description. We're suddenly less serious about you.

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John Kador is the author of "301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview" (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and other business books. He can be reached at

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Well am an HR and always asked this question..but after reading this article,,i will stop for sure. thanks for sharing!

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August 18 2010 at 6:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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Awesome article..I knew few people in my company asking this kind of question. I have shared this useful article with all in my office..thanks a lot!!

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August 17 2010 at 5:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have hired at least 12 people that have quit after finding jobs closer to home. They all commuted 10 miles or more. Should I keep hiring applicants that will probably quit because of the commute? Is that discrimination?

August 14 2010 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Smart thing for anyone looking for a job would be listen to what the person doing the hiring is saying. Ask no questions what so ever and keep your best poker face on." Oh yes it is a game and if you know how to play you will allways come out on top. Young people that are first starting out, take my advise and allways carry a mini recorder, these things more then pay for themselfs. If the employer is willing too hang themselfs, then why not have something to remember your little meeting with. My friends in law enjoy hearing this stuff and who knows if you play your cards right you too could even end up being rich someday."

August 14 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is my take on it. You advertise for a part time secretary. I apply because: 1. I am a secretary. 2. I only want to work part time. You tell me no guarantee that there will be full time work. I get it. You pay me for a part time employee. However, now I get to work full time, making what I made back in 1996 because you are paying me as a part time employee. Only now, instead of being 'just a secretary' you want me to take on more responsibility that I am not trained for. At the initial interview and the follow up interview, everything was very clearly defined - because you made it clear and I made it clear and now I'm in over my head and you threaten to replace me with someone more qualified. I only pray in 3 years my s.s. will still be there for me to collect and I don't have to deal with this type of situation. I've worked for more years than my boss is old and feel the threat of imminent doom over my head - while making less than I did on unemployment - BUT, I'm WORKING. Whoopie. All that to say this. Employers don't really listen. Oh, had an insurance co. call the other day - we have your resume and really want to meet you - they're located 2 hours away - I ask if the position is located where I live and they say, "no, it's 2 hours away". I say, "is it secretarial or is it a sales position?" They say, "well, you can make a lot more money in sales..." Doncha hate when ATT signal goes out just at a crucial moment? ;-}

August 14 2010 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let me tell you....the persone doing the interview askes a bunch of stupud questions too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After they do teh interview on you turn the tables and do it to them...ask them why you should work for them??? why are they better then the other 6 places your going to after them??? If you have a great resume let them know you are worth it!!!

August 14 2010 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul Denkenson

Not every question is bad. The one about relocating. Not everyone wants to relocate!

August 14 2010 at 3:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Venter

A future employee should never be afraid to ask questions that show that he or she is anxious to fill a role. If I'm asking questions that make it obvious that I'm interested in the job and trying to figure out how I can best perform that job, the potential employer is bound to appreciate that more than if I just sit there and don't ask questions. If I were to hire someone, I'd want to know that they've thought seriously about the position and that they have the information they need to know whether or not the job is right for them. If my potential employee doesn't know that the job is right for him, how can I?

August 14 2010 at 2:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miss Ery

I like to ask if they ever press charges. Get it right up front that I will be a future former disgruntled employee.

August 14 2010 at 2:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Piece of crap AOL. I hit Reply to someone elses Comment and it added it as if it were new. Let me try this again!

August 14 2010 at 2:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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