4 Questions You Should Never Ask in an Interview

Katie Sweeney

It doesn’t matter whether you’re interviewing to be an intern at a tech startup that no one has ever heard of or if you’re interviewing to be the new editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, there will be a point during the interview when the hiring manager looks at you and says, “Do you have any questions for me?” It’s wise to be prepared for this moment and have a few questions that show you are interested in the company, culture, and position. It’s also a good idea not to ask the wrong questions. According to a recent Money story, there are four questions that you should never ask in an interview. The questions listed below are red flags that will jeopardize your chances of getting a job, so simply don’t ask them!

  1. Do I have to take a drug test? Bringing up a drug test in an interview is a bad idea because it will raise the hiring manger's suspicion. Why would you ask about drugs if you didn’t use them? Plus, talking about illegal activities during an interview is an example of bad judgment.
  2. Why are there so many men (or women) in this office? Some professions have obvious gender gaps. If you’re applying for an engineering position, you should know that it’s a field that’s dominated by men. You’ll look like an idiot if you ask this. However, it’s okay to ask about the gender ratio of the company. Do it just like that—"What’s the gender ratio here?"—because even if it’s a male-dominated role, there will still be a ratio of men to women, and it’s perfectly acceptable to find out what it is before you join the organization.
  3. What job am I interviewing for? You should know what job you're interviewing for before you arrive for the interview!
  4. How did I do? Don’t ask how you did after the interview. If you nailed it, you want to be confident when you leave, and asking how you did does not promote confidence. Instead ask, “Do you have any reservations about my abilities to perform any of the required tasks so that I may address them now?” 

To learn more about this topic, read 301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview.

Have you ever screwed up an interview by asking an inappropriate question? What did you say?

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