So, your interview is coming to an end. You’ve settled your nerves and you are responding well to the panel you have to face, answering all the questions they have put to you and remembering all the stuff you had prepped beforehand. SUCCESS! You’ve got this in the bag…
Then suddenly… BOOM, a boom has potentially been set off… The employer asks do you have ANY QUESTIONS?
Immediately your brain goes into overdrive… what do they want me to say? I’m sure I wrote some down earlier…?! I have to ask something don’t I?! Better think of something… And then you ask a silly question that makes the whole thing feel a little awkward.
This question can sometimes feel like the hardest one in an interview. You feel the pressure to ask ‘the right’ question, but how do you know whether something is okay to ask or whether it should be left until further down the line?
There is a line between what you can and can’t ask, even if you think it is an important deciding factor in whether or not you take the job. It is all about how you approach the question. This can mean the difference between leaving the interview having made a good impression or finishing what may have been a good interview on an awkward note.
Let’s take a look at some examples of questions you shouldn’t ask, with some guidance on how else to approach it to make sure you leave a good impression.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
The temptation to ask ‘How much will I get paid? Is probably the one that most people want to ask. But you shouldn’t, at least not as bluntly as this!
First of all, it assumes that you have got the job in the bag (which may appear arrogant), but secondly the interviewers may not actually know the answer to the question until after they have interviewed all the candidates. So, asking them so directly may cause a few awkward blushes between the co-workers and may have you squirming in your seat wishing you never asked it.
Instead of asking ‘How much will I get paid?’, you could rephrase the sentence to something a little less direct, such as ‘What is the package for this role? Does it increase with your length of service?’
Doesn’t sound as bad, does it? Asking the question this way is a lot better as you will probably find out more than if you simply asked about the pay. They will likely be able to tell you about any benefits the company offers as part of the employment package, such as holidays, pension arrangements, flexible working hours etc. This knowledge may make you feel differently about a job and a company and it will also make you seem more interested in overall package instead of solely focusing on the salary aspect.
How many hours will I have to work a week?
We all know that at the end of the day, we are busting to get home and get the feet up. In the working world, it doesn’t always work that way, sometimes you may have to work late or come in early, often for no extra pay. This might suck, but unfortunately it is the nature of the game.
Obviously, that is within reason! No one should be expected to be doing significantly more than their contracted hours every single week, but sometimes if there are deadlines fast approaching and a lot of work to be done you may be expected to work extra to help the team out. Asking the question this way insinuates that you are thinking about the bare minimum.
A better question may be ‘What is a typical workday like?’. This will give you an insight into what you would be working on day-to-day and will likely give you an insight into the expected working hours without asking it so directly.
How soon will I be promoted?
This question can look like you are not interested in the position at all and that you are simply taking it before you will move on to something better. The employer doesn’t want to be in the same position 6 months down the line interviewing for this position again, so asking this question may cause them some concern.
A better way to rephrase it could be by asking ‘Are there opportunities for growth in the company?’. This will give you an insight into the culture of the company and whether or not there are opportunities for growth, as well as showing them that you have ambitions and would like to progress through the ranks.
How many sick days do I get?
Aside from asking how much you get paid, this is probably one of the WORST questions you can ask in an interview. Asking about how many days you can take off before you have even started is a big red flag and something you ant to avoid at all costs.
The answer to this question may be given if you ask about the overall package for the role, but if you want to avoid a red face, don’t ask this question!
A good way to avoid any awkwardness at this stage of the interview is to DO YOUR PREP. Prepare a list of questions and write them down. Bring them in to the interview and when you are asked ‘Do you have any questions?’ you can take out the piece of paper and ask them.
The employer is not going to judge you for doing this! Asking a few good questions at the end of the interview is a chance for you to find out some more information about the role and it will show the employer that you have thought about it in more detail.