This provides a fantastic opportunity to show off your preparation for the interview with smart and intuitive questions. There are, however, topics you should almost always avoid.
Do not make reference to salary or benefits. This may seem like a fairly obvious topic to avoid, but many candidates still ask this question in the interview. Salary and benefits are evidently important, but making reference to these during the interview suggests you are not there because you are passionate about the company, but rather only interested in the pay cheque. The time to ask the question about salary is after you have been accepted for the position.
A common question asked in an interview is “What is expected of me?” When phrased this way it implies that you have not read the role description or have not researched the role title. This either suggests you are not capable of the responsibilities of the role, or that you are not fully committed. Probing the responsibilities of the role is a good interview technique, but should be asked in a way that suggests you are gearing up for the initial challenges of the role. For example, asking “What can I expect in the first few weeks in the role?” demonstrates you are aware of the role and responsibilities and want to be prepared to jump straight into being a productive team member.
Many roles will offer flexible working hours, or the option of working from home. It might be for those reasons that you applied for the job, but bringing these topics up during the interview can leave a negative impression of work ethic. Regardless of your flexibility, it is best to probe further after you have been selected for the role. If it is necessary to bring it up during the interview, you need to phrase your questions positively and don’t focus on your other commitments. For example, “I understand the company has an excellent policy on virtual working, I would like to understand this policy better if possible.” sounds a lot better than “Am I required to be in the office full time? As I have other commitments which are….”
Wanting to progress and excel are excellent qualities in a candidate. However, expressing your interest in the company’s promotion structure in an interview is definitely a faux pas. Asking about promotions during the interview suggests that you are not happy with the current offer and that you will be disinterested in your responsibilities. It can also imply that you feel overqualified (in any sense of the word) for the position and will have little job satisfaction.
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