Five Questions to Never Ask in an Interview

Bob Larson, CPC


Career Report

June  2017

 Feature Story


Five Questions to Never Ask in an Interview

Hiring managers and HR pros will often close out a job interview by asking an applicant if he or she has any questions themselves. This is a great opportunity to find out more about the job and the company’s expectations, but you can’t forget that the interviewer hasn’t stopped judging You. Here are five questions from an article published by that can make a bad impression on your interviewer and potentially scuttle your chances of getting the job.

1. When will I be promoted?

This is one of the most common questions that applicants come up with, and it should be avoided, said Rebecca Woods, vice president of human resources at Doherty Employer Services. “It’s inappropriate because it puts the cart before the horse.” Instead of asking when the promotion will occur, Woods said a better approach is to ask what you would need to do to get a promotion.

2. What’s the salary for this position?

Asking about salary and benefits in the first interview “always turns me off,” said Norma Beasant, founder of Talent Human Resources Consulting and an HR consultant at the University of Minnesota. “I’m always disappointed when they ask this, especially in the first interview.” Beasant added that the first interview is more about selling yourself to the interviewer and that questions about salary and benefits should really wait until a later interview.

3. When can I expect a raise?

Talking about compensation can be difficult, but asking about raises is not the way to go about it, Woods told So many companies have frozen salaries and raises that it makes more sense to ask about the process to follow or what can be done to work up to higher compensation level. Talking about “expecting” a raise, Woods added, “shows a person is out of touch with reality.”

4. What sort of flextime options do you have?

This kind of question can make it sound like you’re interested in getting out of the office as much as possible. “When I hear this question, I’m wondering, are you interested in the job?” Beasant said. Many companies have many options for scheduling, but asking about it in the first interview is “not appropriate,” she added.

5. Any question that shows you haven’t been listening.

Woods said she interviewed an applicant for a position that was 60 miles from the person’s home. She told the applicant that the company was flexible about many things, but it did not offer telecommuting. “At the end of the interview, the applicant asked if she would be able to work from home,” Woods said. “Was she even listening? So some ‘bad questions’ can be more situational to the interview itself.”

With the economy the way it is, employers are much more choosy and picky, the article pointed out. Knowing the right questions to ask at the end of interview, and staying clear of ones that hiring managers find inappropriate, can clearly help you stand out – in a good way.


The summer months are almost here and unemployment continues to decline and skill shortages in numerous niches continues to experience hot competition for top and not-so-top talent.  We at Berman Larson Kane find that we have to dig deeper and deeper into our ATS and make more phone calls and solicitation emails to discover good candidates for our clients.

We thank all of you for the privilege of helping you staff your teams and for the confidence of job-seekers to allow us to help with their job search and career development.

Bob Larson, President BLK will be a featured speaker at the NAPS convention in Denver Co. in September .  His talk titled “Talent Acquisition Lessons Learned on the Yoga Matt”.  Bob will share his combined 40 years in talent acquisition with his 20 years experience  on the yoga mat.  “Many of the lessons I’ve learned on the Yoga mat like listening closely, present moment awareness and beginners mind are so relevant to our recruiting profession” say Bob.