Questions you should avoid in a job interview

The job interview is one of the most important stages of professional communications between a hiring manager and a potential candidate. It’s often nerve wracking for a candidate to have such an important meeting to discuss the future of their career and how a new employment opportunity might affect that career trajectory.

As experts of executive recruitment, our Criterion Asia Recruitment consultants have interviewed more than 100,000 candidates and we have collected and summarized six questions you should never ask during a job interview as follows:

1. Don’t ask about “How much is the salary?”
If you have been contacted by a reputable recruitment firm like Criterion Asia, you should know that the salary expectations for the proposed job are within the range of your industry and your experience. Of course, choice of job is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life, so it is important that you know how you will be compensated, but this question should come much later in the interview process. You should definitely wait until the final process before discussing compensation.

2. Don’t ask “What does the company do?”
While it is true that you should take the opportunity of an interview with the company in order to do your own interviewing, asking such a basic question indicates a lack of interest that will be very off-putting to any hiring manager. If the company has taken the time and interest to get to know you better in order to see if they can help you to improve your career trajectory, shouldn’t you be expected to know a little bit about the company in advance of the interview? In addition, today’s fast-paced market changes mean that the best employees will be constant learners and always inquisitive about the world around them. This question, and other simple ones like it indicate a lack of interest that could sink your interview before it even starts.

3. Don’t ask “How quickly can be promoted?”
The interview is an opportunity for you and the company to get to know each other a little better. You are being interviewed to see how well you will fit in with the prospective company and how well you will be able to add value to the job on offer. Asking about a promotion at this stage is more than a little premature since a promotion will have to follow successful execution in the role you’re interviewing for. A better question might be “What opportunities for future growth are there in this organization?”

4. Don’t ask many questions about the interviewer’s background.
The purpose of the job interview is really for the company to get to know you better and see how your specific skills can help the company achieve its goals. At the same time, you’ll want to ensure that you will fit in and be given the opportunity to thrive in your new role. This means that questions about the company, management and growth philosophy or corporate culture may want to be discussed. Remember, however, that the interviewer is simply a representative of the company and your questions should be about the company, not the interviewer.

5. Don’t ask “Do you do background checks?”
If you are concerned about the results of a background check, you should discuss this with your consultant at Criterion Asia Recruitment in advance of your interview. Many companies will be understanding of questions about your past if you are transparent and upfront with them. To ask if the company does background checks may indicate that you have something to hide and this is a something that most employers will want to avoid without much hassle and therefore are unlikely to contact you for a second interview after such a question.

6. Don’t ask about gossip or rumors that you’ve heard.
Similarly to the idea that you shouldn’t ask too much about the interviewer’s background, it is usually considered inappropriate to ask an interviewer to comment on gossip or rumors in the marketplace. If you have questions or concerns about the company that you are interviewing for, it’s entirely reasonable to try and get a sense of what the current status of the company is, but an interview is not the place to ask about rumors or gossip since the person you are interviewing with will not be in a position to comment on what you may have heard.

Getting ready for a job interview doesn’t have to be stressful. Show up well dressed, well rested, well informed and with a little bit of curiosity and you should do fine. Asking questions is okay, but avoid the six that we’ve identified and you’re sure to shine!

Ready to apply for a new role? Check the Criterion Asia Recruitment job board today.