It’s never a good sign when a promising candidate has nothing to ask at the end of an interview.
Although what might be worse is the promising candidate who chooses to ask something inappropriate or unprofessional. This can end up being a major red flag when it comes to their suitability – no matter how well the rest of the interview went.
We’ve already covered what you should be asking, but here are five of the worst questions you can hear when you’re interviewing someone:
What does your company do?
Some candidates might think asking what your company does is a great way to get the ball rolling.
But in reality, all this question really says is that they can’t think of anything worthwhile to ask and, more importantly, that they haven’t even deemed the interview significant enough to spend a few minutes on a search engine looking up your organisation.
Instead, look for candidates who’ve actually done their homework – and have learnt enough about what you do to focus their questions on specific details.
What they should be asking: I saw that your company has recently done X. Can you tell me a little more about this?
Can I move into other areas of the business?
As disinterested questions go, this one is right up there.
In fact, they might as well just go one step further and say ‘I’m not really interested in this role, but I do what to get my foot in the door, as I’ve got designs on a job in another team as soon as I get the chance.”
Not only does this kind of question indicate that the candidate’s not really interested in the job, it also suggests that they wouldn’t be keen on sticking around if you did choose to hire them.
What they should be asking: What are the promotion prospects? What opportunities for development are there?
How much sick pay do I get?
So they’re at the first interview and they’re already planning their first absence?
Let’s face it, bringing up sick pay or annual leave at an interview can seem like a bit of a red flag. Especially if you get the feeling they’re pre-empting being away a lot.
Of course, some candidates could have a specific medical reason for asking. If you think this might be the case, approach with caution.
You can then ask if they have any specific requirements which need to be made to help them do the job effectively. You shouldn’t ask how many sick days they had off in their last role.
What they should be asking: Nothing that relates to sick pay or holiday at this stage.
What’s the nightlife like?
For some candidates, the social aspects of their employer is an important part of their working lives.
However, as the old adage goes, there’s a time and a place for everything. And the time for asking about the best places to go out in the area is not during their first interview.
Finding out more about the team or asking an open-ended question about company culture is fine, but candidates should wait for any other social aspects to come up naturally when (and if) they get the job.
What they should be asking: How many other people are there in the team? What’s the best thing about the company culture?
How did I do?
At best, this question is divisive. At worst, it could be a deal-breaker.
Even if the candidate has built a good rapport with you, this question is only likely to create an awkward situation – no matter how innocuous (or worse, ‘humorous’) their intentions are.
And more practically, it’s unlikely you’ll be in a position to provide the answer they’re looking for.
The best candidates will instead ask when they can expect to hear from you, and send a follow-up email thanking you for your time.
What you should be asking: Could you give a description of your ideal candidate? When can I expect to hear from you?
Honourable mentions: How long will this take? How important is it that I turn up on time? What’s your social media policy? How long is lunch? Does the company monitor emails? Do you perform background checks? Do you fancy going for a drink after this?
Ready to find your next hire?
Five questions you don’t want to be asked at the end of an interview by reed.co.uk