Interview DO’s and DON’Ts

A reader writes…

I know it’s always a good idea to ask questions to the employer during an interview… but which kinds of questions are okay and which are not?

Dear “DOs and DON’Ts,”

A career is like a marriage – it’s meant to be long term, it has its ups and downs, and it requires a lot of “getting to know one another” to ensure a good match.

Since we’re using matrimony as our analogy, consider this…

If “marriage” is like a “career,” then “dating” is like the “interview.”   It requires open dialogue between both parties, shouldn’t move too quickly, and, well, can often become revealing!

And just like dating, if you ask the wrong things in an interview… it can be a real turn-off!

Here is a quick list of interview “DOs and DON’Ts” that may help you get the “I do”  you’re looking for from an employer.

Interview DOs – (AKA sample questions you should ask that show interest):

  • What type of  training does the company provide to groom and grow employees?
  • What is the hiring manager’s management style?
  • What does the potential boss like most about the company?  What would he or she change?
  • How is success evaluated?  How frequently?
  • What have current or former employees in this same position accomplished for the company?
  • What would I be expected to accomplish within the next 6 months to a year?
  • How long have employees worked here?
  • Where did the potential boss start at the company?  How long has he/she been with the organization?

Interview DONTs – (AKA if you ask these upfront… the marriage is off!):

  • What does your company do? (Do your homework in advance)
  • How much does this job pay? (I know you’re dying to know… but save this for a later interview.  You can research similar positions and “going rates” in advance).
  • What are the hours? (Nobody wants to hire a clock watcher)
  • How many sick days do I get? (Employers are looking for leaders not unhealthy couch potatoes!)
  • How much time off do I get? (You haven’t even been hired and you’re already looking to be gone?)
  • Do you do background checks or drug tests? (Uh..  got something to hide?)

Follow these examples, and you’re sure to get hitched…  oops, I mean hired!

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. freedom13
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 14:48:17

    You’ve got great insights about Dating Do’s and Dont’s, keep up the good work!



  2. Cindi B
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 12:53:58

    How are we going to know the answer to these questions if we don’t ask? What if the hours need to be specific, everyone needs to know what they will be paid… I am awaiting a real answer



    • Rafael A.
      Feb 22, 2011 @ 23:36:36

      Cindy B.
      I understand that you are interested in asking questions during the interview regarding specific hours and how much the pay will be.
      These are the questions that the HR and hiring manager are hoping that you ask so they can screen out short term job jumpers. I see this happen all the time when there is a better opportunity that comes along for individuals as yourself and then the company has to reinvest time to start the process again.
      Don’t get me wrong I’m sure that those are good questions but the second and third interview are usually the disclosure for those questions on their terms. Thanks, I hope my input helped.



  3. Michele Vics
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 08:48:49

    Minding your p’s and q’s has become a science. Job hunting is not only a full-time job in itself, it has turned into a blood sport.



    • Lynn
      Feb 23, 2011 @ 04:35:30

      I agree….it is a full time job. Not being able to make contact with companies< i believe, is really difficult (not even employment agencies!!! Fill out the app on line and we will contact you…blah blah blah)

      But I do wish good luck to every one



  4. Rekiyah
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 08:15:22

    why not ask for how much you make, that sound like your setting youself up for any pay. Maybe the last question.



    • Shannon
      Feb 23, 2011 @ 10:24:39

      I was told by a hiring manager and career counselor that you should never ask what you will be paid. When the position is offered to you, and only after it has been offered to you should you ask. Normally, they provide that information and AFTER you have been given the offer, you could even ask if the salary is negotiable. She was told she could increase from the $15/hour she offered to $22/hour IF they person asked, but no one ever asked so they were stuck at $15. Basically, if you get the offer, do ask if salary is negotiable. All they can say is no and you can decide if you still want to accept their offer at that pay rate. Good luck!



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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