Interviews are nerve-racking. It’s important to give the right impression from the very beginning, by providing clear and well structured answers, but also by not asking the wrong questions. Here’s seven such queries that have the potential to scupper your chance of progressing any further towards your dream role.

1. How much holiday do I get?

If you want to give the impression that, even before your start date, you’re wondering how to get out of spending time in the office, then this is the question to ask.

When comparing you with other applicants, one quality that will be taken into consideration is dedication. If you’ve already enquired about how many days you can take off every year, then you’re not showing that you’ll be dedicated to the brand and your new role.

The only time it’s acceptable to mention time off is if you already have a holiday (or important event) booked that you feel the employer needs to know about. There’s no need to mention this until the latter stages of the recruitment process, unless you plan to take an unusual number of days for a single episode.

2. Can I move into another area of the business?

Even if you see the role you’re applying for as a stepping stone to the one you really want, don’t give the game away by asking about job transfers in your interview.
Career advancement is fine – and something that every employer should offer – Bringing up your aspirations to move into a different role within the business, however, will make you less desirable than other applicants, who are passionate about the specific role that they’re applying for.

Don’t spend time talking about future opportunities when you’re not even sure you’ve secured the current job. You need to prove yourself first in the role you are applying for, before even thinking about moving into another.

3. What is it that you do?

Do your research before the interview. Please.

4. Do you run background checks?

This immediately raises a red flag and, even if the employer doesn’t normally carry out these checks as part of their standard recruitment process, once you’ve asked this question then you can be sure they’ll make an exception for you!

5. Do you monitor emails and web activity?

Probably. If you’re planning on spending the majority of your working day browsing the internet and chatting with friends via email, then you’re not the ideal candidate that they’re looking for.
Asking this question will immediately raise concerns and probably eliminate you from the list of applicants who progress in the recruitment process.

6. Can I work from home?

Telecommuting is more common now than ever before and employees are just as (if not more) productive when working from home. That doesn’t mean that working from home is to be expected; asking about it during your initial discussion with an interviewer isn’t appropriate.

Your reasons for asking may be completely innocent, but questions will be asked, such as:

  • Will you have an issue getting to work each day?
  • Do you have other commitments?

It’s often the case that you can identify whether or not telecommuting is part of the culture, by evaluating the type of work that the brand does and reading their updates on social media and their blog. If not, then leave this question until you’ve got the job.
The interview process is not the time to ask about telecommuting, you will have opportunities to find out about job flexibility after you receive an offer.

7. Will I be expected to work overtime?

Maybe yes. If you ask this question, then your commitment to the role will be questioned. You should be dedicated to the role and willing to put in additional time, if required and reasonable.

If you really need to get an idea of the expected working hours, then ask about the general culture and a description of a typical day in the office.

Lastly, asking no questions at all can be as detrimental to your chances as asking one of the above. Prepare before the interview and have some thoughtful and intelligent questions to ask.