The job market has changed significantly in the past decade. What once was considered a professional faux pas, may not be construed as career suicide in today’s job market. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t obvious questions you should avoid during your first job interview.
First interviews are always a little nerve-racking, even for those that aren’t easily rattled. While you want to be able to convey your personality to your potential employer, there are limits to what you should and shouldn’t say. The best blanket advice for job seekers before venturing into the unknown is to do your research. The most useful tool you have is information, so do your ‘homework’. Other than that, here is a shortlist of what you should never ask in your first interview. Some of them are obvious, but you’d be surprised how often I see these questions come up when I interview potential candidates.
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- What Does Your Company Do? – There is nothing that leaves employers more slack-jawed than having a potential prospect not know anything about the actual company they are trying to get hired to represent. Believe it or not, this is the #1 most frequently asked and failed question during job interviews. As stated above, the best way to avoid running into this obvious bear trap is to do some online research before heading into the gauntlet. Basically, if you want the job, come prepared!
- Do You Check My Social Media Accounts? – If you have to ask, then the answer is ‘yes’. In fairness, it isn’t that uncommon for employers to sleuth you out online. Social media has become a part of life these days. It all comes down to what line of work you are in though. Typically creative jobs would be a little more lax, as opposed to more ‘buttoned up’ professions. If you are responsible for human life as a part of your job, it probably isn’t the best idea to have pictures of your recent rager in Cabo online. That being said, taking time away from your first job interview to ask whether or not your social media accounts will be checked, is a red flag for employers. Avoid this question if you want to hold on to one iota of privacy.
- Will I Have to Take a Drug Test? – If you were attempting to put your best foot forward with this question, you managed to stick your foot right in your mouth instead. This should be the least of your worries during your first job interview. While times are changing, and it isn’t uncommon for some states to be more accepting of current marijuana legislature, it is best to not lead with this question. If you are a recreational marijuana user or take prescription drugs, this is something you should address with your employer prior to being hired, but there are ways of going about it. You CAN and SHOULD volley this inquiry to your recruiter, if you have one. Your recruiter is typically not affiliated with the company in question and can speak on your behalf, diffusing the situation and making it more professional.
- What is the Pay & Vacation Time? -Don’t get me wrong, as a recruiter, I know how important this information can be. You should know about your compensation package and what your work-life balance is going to look like. Again, this is something more appropriate to ask your recruiter. If you are to ask this question, only do so after your first interview is in the bag and you go in for your follow up interview.
This only covers the most obvious questions you should not ask in a job interview. The biggest takeaways and pointers I can offer are: Do your research, when in doubt don’t ask until after your first interview, and be yourself. If you can manage to do these three simple things, the rest will fall into place naturally.
Millionaire Recruiter wants you to land that dream job! Stay informed on the best practices when interviewing. We also offer online job coaching that can help you actualize success and evolve past your current accomplishments.