3 TOP Questions and 3 NEVER Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

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“So, do you have any questions for me?”, asks the drill sergeant dressed in the snazzy, black HR garb. Meanwhile, my mind goes blank, distracted by the inner dialogue I’m having with myself – What do you mean, do I have any questions for you? The only question I want the answer to is whether or not I’m gonna get this job! But, of course, I can’t ask that because I’ll seem desperate! Agh, what in the world do I ask?!

Without fail, each and every time I present my “Interview Techniques to Land You the Job” workshop, I have people ask me to speak further about this topic. The question “Why do they even ask me that?” is one I hear frequently, so I’ll give insight on that before I get to, what I call, “the nitty gritty”.

Kelly Gregorio of Brazen Careerist writes, “During your first interview, the “impress-me dance” is still in full swing. When a potential employer asks if you have any questions, they don’t want inquiries about parking validation; they want to see if you’re prepared, educated and inquisitive.” In other words, employers ask this question to see just how interested you really are in their position and company. Think about it – if you were on a first date and the guy across from you stared blankly saying, “Nope, I don’t have any questions”, would you really think he was that into you? Absolutely not. The same logic works during interviews; the more inquisitive you are the better.

Now that we’ve answered that question, we can get to the good stuff; the nitty gritty.

3 Questions NEVER to Ask Your Interviewer

1. So, how much are you going to pay me? (Or anything of the sort). The rule of thumb here is that you should never be the first one to bring up money or anything “what’s-in-it-for-me” related – benefits, vacation, sick time, days off, yada yada yada. You get it. Employers want to know that you are concerned about what you can do for THEM, not what they can do for you.

2. I’m a new mom. Will I be given time during the day to pump? Yes, I’ve actually had someone ask me this during a mock interview. Now, most of you probably would never ask something like this, but I list this one because I don’t want you asking questions that give away personal details of your life; they don’t need to know that you’re a new mom or that you have five kids or that you just got married.

3. I have a vacation planned in August. Will you be able to work with me on that? I mention this question because sometimes we feel like we should tell the interviewer certain details out of consideration for them or because we are worried they won’t be flexible. While in some cases you should ask, a general rule here is to leave questions like this for AFTER they offer you the position. At that point, you are the candidate they want so they will be much more likely to work with you.

3 Questions ALWAYS to Ask Your Interviewer

1. What are the top 3 goals you would like for me to accomplish within the first year here? This is a great question to ask because it shows the interviewer that you are interested in understanding exactly what their expectations are of you. This lets them know you care about their bottom line, which in turn, makes them more likely to want to hire you. We tend to like people more when we know they care about us, right?

2. What does the training for this position look like? This is one of the top questions to ask because you need to fully understand what you’re signing yourself up for. Will it be one day, a week, or a month long process? In addition, we all have different learning styles; if you are a visual person then you know you wouldn’t excel in a training consisting solely of reading manuals.

3. What are the next steps in the hiring process/when will you be making your decision and how will I be notified? Either way you decide to word it, this question – for sake of your own sanity – must be asked. This way you will know what to expect and won’t be staring at your phone wondering when they are going to call you. Asking for these details also reiterates your interest in the position, which is imperative to your success!

Now, go off to the interview and rock it! You’ve got this one in the bag. J

What other questions could you ask? Are there any other taboo questions you can think of? I’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments or other questions below and I’ll be happy to chat with you!

Dayna Mathews, Advisor in GCC’s Career & Employment Services Department, has been providing guidance and expert advice in all things career related since getting her start at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in 2009. Since moving to Phoenix in 2010, Dayna has worked her way up through the non-profit, for-profit, and currently, public sector of career ventures related to providing career counseling and job readiness services to individuals of varying ages and backgrounds. As the Career Services Advisor at GCC, Dayna provides students and community members with free resume assistance, job search strategies for success, workshops on a number of varying career related topics, interview skills training, and strengths-based career planning. Connect with Dayna on LinkedIn and Twitter @DMCareerPro to learn more. For further questions or to schedule an appointment, contact her directly at


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