#14: Never ask these questions at your job interview

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Now that many of you were able to get interviews – and jobs (congrats!) – we wanted to give you a quick overview on why you might have missed the chance to actually get the job offer in the end. As published in blog post # 12, it is critical to ask questions during the interview. However, be aware not to never ask these below (whether you are talking to an ambassador or a HR manager):

1. Don’t ask: “What’s Your Turnover Rate?”

It’s completely understandable to want to know how many employees leave the company each year. After all, a high number usually indicates there’s something wrong with the culture or environment. What you can do though is to ask instead:

“How Long Have You and the Rest of the Team Worked Here?”

Especially important when talking to an ambassador. No one will be offended by this question, and you can use it to determine how long your future co-workers (who are the most similar to you, anyway) have been sticking around.

2. Don’t Ask: “How Often Do You Promote People?”

You should definitely factor in the potential for promotion when deciding whether or not to work somewhere. However, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re only taking this job so you can hop up the ladder. But you could phrase it differently and ask instead:

“What are the Professional Development Opportunities?”

The answer will quickly tell you if and how much the organization invests in its employees. In general, a company with a good-sized professional development budget likes to help its employees grow—and promote from within.

3. Don’t Ask: “What Are the Hours for This Role?”

Unless the position is part-time or they specifically mention their flex policies, just assume your hours will be the usual 9 AM to 5/6 PM. Bringing it up makes you sound like you’ll be watching the clock from day one. Ask instead:

“What Does a Typical Day Look Like for Your Team?”

While the most common response to this is, “There’s no typical day.” It’s usually followed up quickly with, “But, most days we get in around 9:30 and start…”

4. Don’t Ask: “What Would You Change About the Company?”

Even though this is a legitimate question, you’re never going to get a genuine response; plus, you’ll put your interviewer in an uncomfortable position. Ask instead:

“What’s a Challenge You Think I’ll Face in This Role?” Or, if you talk to the ambassador: “What was your biggest challenge when you started working here?”

By phrasing it this way instead, you’ll discover what you really want to know—what will make your job difficult! In addition, you can use the interviewer’s answer to write an impressive thank you note.

For example, let’s say she responds, “Well, you’re going to be the middleman between our designers and developers, and those guys are constantly clashing over how usable versus appealing our products are.”

You can now include a line in your thank you along the lines of, “Because I’ve designed and developed, I know how to communicate with both sides and am confident I can help unite the the teams to make a really strong product.”

Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t ask, you’ll be able to ace the interview from start to finish.

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