What not to ask in an interview

Published on: 4 Dec 2014

Things not to say in interview

Image ©iStock.com/g_studio

We all know that not asking questions yourself during an interview is one sure-fire way of not landing your dream job, so you need to have a few up your sleeve.

But what about the things you should NOT ask about, under any circumstances?

We’ve thought of a few:

  • Don’t ask any questions that you can research yourself. If what you need to know can easily be found out online, use Google.
  • How long would it be before I got promoted? While there’s nothing wrong with showing ambition, your interview panel may infer from this question that you're not all that interested in the actual role you have applied for. Ask more generally about opportunities for growth within the organisation.
  • Any mentions of salary, benefits, holiday, and even hours of work are also generally best left until you are made an offer.
  • Don’t leave the interview asking whether you got the job. Not only does this make you look impatient, but it puts the panel on the spot.
  • Asking about working from home is also often viewed as a no-no, especially if the prospective employer hasn’t mentioned it in the advertisement or in the interview itself. Wait until you are settled and have an established track record.
  • Don’t ask how much help or support you will get. This just implies that you’re not up to doing the job by yourself.

It’s also worth remembering that there are things you interviewer shouldn’t ask you, and alarm bells should ring if you hear any of them.

Your interviewer, for example, should avoid asking about disability or health issues until an offer has been made. Equally, you should not be asked about ethnicity and religion, or place of birth. Nor should you be quizzed about your marital status, how many children you have, or sexual orientation.

It is also against the law for potential employers to question candidates about individual lifestyle choices relating to things such as alcohol consumption, smoking and recreational drugs use. Finally, aside from enquiring about meeting the minimum age to do a job, no questions about age should be asked.

If you find yourself being asked any of these things, consider taking official action.