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The 3 Questions Not to Ask in a Job Interview

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It's interview time: You've gotten through answering all the tricky questions and are starting to feel thankful it is over, but you're not done yet. Now it's your turn to deliver some questions to the employer. Be sure to make them count - asking the right questions can go a long way in helping you stand out among the other candidates. One key thing to remember: don't ask about specific information that makes it all about you; inquire about the company and the position itself. Here are a few questions not to ask.

1. How much will I get paid?

This has got to be the No. 1 question that all job seekers have right off the bat: How much will I earn? Of course this is going to be on your mind, but it's important that you keep it to yourself. This is true until an employer brings it up to you. Penny Galbreath, training manager for corporate technology and compliance at Kum & Go, reinforced this idea in AIU's recent Serious Talk webinar. "Don't ask how much the job pays during the interview process," she said. Instead, focus on your background and skill sets when talking to the employer, and wait for them to ask you about salary. In fact, they cannot offer you the position until they discuss salary with you, so be patient. You are in a professional environment and you are having a professional conversation, so why bring it up? In the same webinar, "Who's Getting Hired and Why," Tom Latourette, managing partner with M3 learning, said, "I'm still surprised at how many people ask questions that I wouldn't ask at a cocktail party." If it's not something you would ask when meeting someone in a social setting, then chances are you shouldn't discuss it in an interview.

2. Can I work flex hours?

Another topic you do not want to bring up is your potential schedule. This falls into the category of information you can find out once an offer has been made or as soon as the interviewer deems it necessary. Unfortunately, even though you may be thinking that you need to balance your personal life with your professional life and may not be able to accept a job offer if they are not cohesive, in the interview, you shouldn't focus on what the job can do for you; it's more about what you can do for the job. There are different types of scheduling that can occur, and you want to make sure you seem open and available and will work with the employer to the best of your ability. In the webinar, Galbreath said that when you ask, "Do I have flex hours?" it can make it seem like you are looking out solely for yourself and want to make your schedule without thinking of the company's needs. Make sure you don't give the impression that you are only looking for flexibility; instead, show that you are flexible to their schedule.

3. "What does this company do?"

It is important to do your research on the company before the interview. When doing research, make sure to pay attention to key information published on the company website, such as its motto, core values, and even any philanthropy it conducts. "If it's public information, don't ask me, because it is already on the website," cautioned Elissa Dactelides, head of learning and development for Cetera Financial Group, at the Serious Talk webinar. Instead, stand out to the employer and do your research by asking questions that show insight into the position and the company's goal. Try to think outside the box so employers don't think you are unprepared and do not care enough to do your homework.

Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at