Somebody found my blog the other day by Googling “dumb things to say in interviews.”
Now, I’m not sure why this person was looking for this sort of guidance, but I aim to please…so here you go.
- How much does this job pay? If this is the first question out of your mouth, it shouldn’t be. In general, you want to ask questions that are about how you would be successful in the position, not on what they can do for you. Save the what’s-in-it-for-me stuff for the offer stage. If you have reason to believe that the pay might be so low that you wouldn’t be interested in the job, there are better ways to handle this. Try asking a few more job-centric questions, and then saying something like, “This is awkward, but I want to ensure we’re on the same page before we move forward. My pay at XYZ Company was $X, and I’m looking to stay in that same range. Would I be able to do that in this position?” That way you’re not making it sound like pay is all you care about, and you’re acknowledging that asking at this early stage is a deviation from normal interview etiquette.
- Do you cover Viagra? I’ve had people ask this (and questions about other very specific medications, medical conditions, etc.). First, you’re telling people more than they need to know about your health, which is never a good idea (they’re not supposed to use it against you, but they often do). Second, the interviewer doesn’t necessarily know what’s covered. If this is a big concern for you, ask for a copy of the Summary Plan Document (SPD) at the offer stage, so that you can evaluate the insurance coverage against your existing coverage. That way you can look for yourself, and you don’t have to reveal things about yourself that just don’t need to be shared.
- Can you make the pay a little less so I am still eligible for [food stamps, subsidized insurance, take your pick]? There are people out there who actually ask their employers to fix things so that they can still get some sort of public assistance. These people suck. Don’t be one of them. The answer is always going to be no, because no one is going to stick their neck out to pull that kind of crap for you, and you’re waving a giant “DON’T HIRE ME—I CHEAT” sign at them when ask.
- Are you single? On behalf of interviewers everywhere, let me assure you that we don’t want to go out with you. If we do, we have your number.
- What does your company do? So, you don’t know how to Google then? Because there’s pretty much no excuse for not knowing a lot about the company before you come in. It’s 2009. We have the internet now. Look into it.
- I can start immediately. If you have a job, you need to give two weeks’ notice. When you tell me you don’t plan to give your current employer that courtesy, I’ll assume you’re going to do the same to me.
- No, I don’t have any questions. Really? You’re so uninterested in the job that you can’t think of a single thing to ask? Because I’m probably going to give this position to someone who is actually interested in knowing something about the job and/or the company. Just so you know.
Photo by aigarius