Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Questions to Never Ask in an Interview

2009 is underway, and along with the start of winter quarter, the inauguration of a new president and MORE snow, this time of year is also the time when many students are applying for summer internships - and applying for internships means preparing for interviews.

For students who have never interviewed for a position before (and for those who have) internship interviews can be stressful and at times overwhelming. However, CAPS has a wide range of resources to assist students as they prepare for their upcoming interviews, including our interview skills handout, our interview skills webcast and our practice interviewer staff members, who will take you through an interview and then give you feedback on your answers.

In addition to these resources (which are available throughout the year, for both internship AND full-time interviews), this week the CAPS blog takes a look at some of the questions you should never ask when once you make it into the interview room, courtesy of an article from Yahoo's Hot Jobs.

First off, you might be wondering why you would be asking questions in an interview to begin with. After all, isn't an interview a chance for your potential employer to ask you questions? While it's true that in most interviews the employer is doing most of the asking, it's also true that there will almost always be a moment during your interview when you will be asked "So, do you have any questions for me?". When this happens, it's important to have at least two or three questions prepared - these are questions that should demonstrate your knowledge of the organization your interviewing with and your interest in the position. Which is why you shouldn't ask questions like:

"What does your company do?" As Hot Jobs points out, "This was a reasonable interview question in 1950 or in 1980, before the Internet existed. Today, it's your job to research any company you're interviewing with before setting foot in the door. We need to show up for a job interview knowing what the employer does, who its competitors are, and which of its accomplishments (or challenges) have made the news lately."

Also on the list of inquiries to avoid: "When will I be eligible for a raise?" Negotiating a job offer is part of the job search process - but asking about salary during your first interview is generally not the best approach. Instead, as Hot Jobs points out, wait until your second interview, and then "you can ask (at a second interview) 'Does your organization do a conventional one-year performance and salary review?' "

Another tricky area to navigate in the job search process is the idea of upward mobility. Very few people want to take a job that provides zero room for growth or promotion - however, when and how you ask about this can make a big difference in your interview. For example, don't ask "How soon can I transfer to a new position" - as Hot Jobs says, "You're broadcasting 'I'm outta here at the first chance' when you ask this question. If you like the job, take the job. If it's not for you, wait for the right opportunity. Almost every employer will keep you in your seat for at least one year before approving an internal transfer, so a job-search bait-and-switch probably won't work out the way you'd hoped."

For more questions you don't want to ask in a first-round interview, visit this Hot Jobs article.

For more interviewing help from CAPS, call (773) 702 - 7040 to schedule an appointment with one of our practice interviewers or a CAPS staff member.

Questions, feedback or ideas regarding interviewing? Post them here.


AVIL said...

before your interview think about these question and prepare over them. Why did you make choices in your life...why did you choose the school you attended, why did you take your first job, why did you leave that job, why did you take your next job? What are your strengths? What are you good at...an interview is like a sales call...you're the product...why should they hire you? What makes you so good?
these will help you at the time of the Interview.
More Interview Tips

Padmanaban said...

Interview is just a process to select the right person, so have a complete study about the company as well as the job position. Internet provides an easy way to search jobs openings related for your needs.