10 Topics to Avoid During Job Interviews


Job OfferCongratulations, you got the interview! Now you need to do two things – convince them that you are the best person for the job and don’t say anything stupid. Sounds simple, but it’s not. The old saying “You only get one chance to make a good first impression” sounds like it was written for job interviews. You’ve got to ask good questions and have great answers for the difficult questions asked of you. One real life extreme example is a candidate that I was interviewing for a job at our company. When asked what skills or knowledge they felt they needed to learn more about they said “Nothing. There is no one who knows more than me and there is nothing new I need to learn“. Obviously, they did not get the job.

1. Company Research

So if you’ve done your homework and done research on the company prior to the interview (this is a topic covered in We hope you know this already, but when you’re going to a job interview it’s important to research the company at length before you step foot into the building. This means that you should be armed with all the basic information available on the internet before your interviewer meets you in person–things like the names of upper management members, products or services, basic mission, and so on. If you don’t find out everything that you need to find out, (or you forget to look) do not blurt out anything that will make you look like you didn’t research the company beforehand. Don’t ever ask “What does your company do?”.

2. Work Hours

We all want to have a reasonable work day and no one wants to work a job where they are working 14 hours a day but the interview is not the place to ask this question. You can possibly find someone you know who works at the company or do some research on the Internet to get the answer to this question. Also don’t ask if you can change your work hours.

3. What Are You Going to Give Me?

Vacation, personal days, medical benefits, etc. These are all important pieces of information that you will need before making a decision (assuming you get an offer), but this is not a question that should come up during the interview process. Once you get an offer, ask the questions.

4. Corporate Culture

Definitely ask questions about the corporate culture, but don’t get into things like “can I work from home?” or “Do you sponsor happy hour events?”.

5. Advancement

Most companies want you to be in a position for 2 or more years prior to moving to another position. Don’t ask about mobility within the company or when you can expect to get a promotion.

6. Work /  Life Balance Questions

We all want the flexibility to leave early if there is an event with our kids or possibly leave early to coach your kid’s baseball team but these are not questions you would bring up at the interview.

7. How much will you pay me?

Certainly you will want to know Everyone wants to make a little bit of money doing a dream job. During the job interview, however, the trick is to make it seem like it’s your dream position regardless of the salary. You want to appear passionate, not desperate for just anything that will pay your bills. No employer is going to be naive enough to believe you don’t want to know, but if the interviewer does not prompt you to talk about your salary requirements, keep quiet about the topic until it’s brought up.

8. Did I get the job?

Great question, poor timing. Not a question that any hiring manager wants to answer on the spot. There are many considerations that go into hiring.  You can ask where they are in the interview process and the timing for making their final decision.

9. Do I have to take a drug test?

If you have to ask, well you get the picture.

10. Pay attention

Don’t ask any questions that have already been answered by the interviewer. You have your “list of questions”, make sure you have more than enough in case any are answered before you get to ask the question.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,


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