9 Most Useless Job Interview Questions You Should Stop Asking

When it’s time for the interviewee to ask questions, there are some that will get you a lot more information than others.
Last updated Nov. 14, 2022 | By Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore | Edited By Rachel Siegel
congratulations after successful job interview

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During most job interviews, there will come a time when the interviewer asks if the candidate has any questions they’d like to ask about the company or job. The answer should always be yes. You want to indicate that you have done your homework, and you are engaged enough to be curious — beyond just wanting the paycheck

However, some questions are better than others. The candidate’s questions are still part of the interview process, so you should still put your best foot forward here while trying to gauge if this is truly a company you’d like to work for.

To help simplify the process, here are nine questions you should avoid asking (and questions you should) during the interview process.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

Drobot Dean/Adobe young asian woman smiling and holding resume

Instead of asking something that could be interpreted as vague, career experts suggest going with a more specific question that could invoke a more personal response. Instead of asking a run-of-the-mill question, like what’s your favorite thing about working here, asking about the interviewer’s personal experience will indicate you’re interested in both the job and your potential future colleague.

According to career experts, asking about challenges someone has faced on the job indicates you’re willing to put in hard work, and you are interested in what type of culture your potential future colleagues work with.

How many performance reviews are there?

Jacob Lund/Adobe female employer taking interview of a job applicant

Instead of asking outright how often you’ll be reviewed or anything that might indicate you’re concerned about negative feedback, keep it professional (and more general) by asking what the formal review process is like. Any question that suggests you’re not completely confident in your performance should be avoided during the interview process, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from asking about general feedback.

Career experts say you can ask what the formal review process is like, and even how often these reviews occur, as long as there’s no indication that you are worried your performance will be sub-par.

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Will I ever have to come into the office?

Mangostar/Adobe candidate at job interview in modern office space

Questions related to remote work will have to be tailored based on the type of job you are interviewing for. If you go in knowing the job is all, or mostly, remote, then questions regarding remote work can be phrased differently. However, if you’re unsure about what the company’s policy is regarding working from home, it may be wise to tread lightly around this topic.

Career experts strongly advise against leading with demands about how often you wish to work from home. Instead, try to gauge how the company generally handles people working out of the office and wait until they want to hire you for more specific questions about how much remote work is permitted.

Do you need my references?

insta_photos/Adobe female hr reading cv during online virtual job interview by video call

When it comes to closing questions, career experts advise against coming on too strong. This means, for example, that offering references too soon may seem a bit desperate. If an employer has not asked for references specifically, it may be a better idea to keep those on the backburner until they are requested.

Going with a more general question, like asking if there’s anything else the employer needs after round one, puts the ball in the hiring manager’s court in a nice, respectful way.

What are the promotion opportunities?

Production Perig/Adobe woman applicant during job interview

Instead of asking outright how quickly you can be promoted, or what the best route to a higher salary is, it’s a good idea to begin by inquiring about what the typical career path looks like in the department you are applying for.

The answer will likely give you the same information and it’s a more professional way to get an idea of the potential for advancement for someone in the position you’re applying for.

How much time off do I get?

deagreez/Adobe businessman asking candidate questions

Potential employees in the first round of the interviewing process should avoid any direct questions about salary, time off, benefits, and the like. All of these things can be negotiated once the hiring manager has decided s/he wants you on board and is willing to make a deal to arrange that.

However, asking about the environment may get you some clues. The hiring manager may even offer up some insider information about time off, company events, perks, and more.

Who’s your biggest competitor?

djrandco/Adobe woman candidate at a job interview

Potential hires should also avoid asking about who a company’s main competitors are. Before a job interview, it should be simple enough to do your homework and figure this out on your own. Do a Google search to gauge if this information is public knowledge.

However, asking about new products or plans to expand the company will indicate that you are interested in its future and being a part of that growth.

Are there other jobs available at your company?

pressmaster/Adobe businessman in casual clothes conducting the interview with woman at office

Instead of asking outright if there are other jobs available aside from the one you are interviewing for, try to gauge this information by asking about opportunities for advancement within the company.

During the interview, career experts stress the importance of staying focused on the position you are applying for. This will show the employer you’re excited about the role and indicate you are also enthusiastic about potentially growing within that role. Asking about opportunities for advancements shows you’re willing to stay and grow with the company.

Do you like your boss?

goodluz/Adobe corporate interview between executive and candidate

Career experts advise against asking hiring managers if they like their boss or the team they work with. Sure, you may be curious, but there are more professional ways to get an idea of what company culture is like.

You may want to ask about what different positions the team fills and how they go about dealing with challenges so you can better prepare yourself should you be offered a job. This will come off in a more positive light than asking the interviewer to make personal judgements about colleagues.

Bottom line

gpointstudio/Adobe woman during job interview

After a good interview, potential hires should plan to have a few questions up their sleeves to let the hiring manager know they are engaged and capable of doing research on the company. The more specific to the company’s needs you can make these questions, the better.

It’s also generally a good idea to avoid giving off the vibe that you’re dealing with financial stress during the interviewing process — so if it is possible to put off talk of salary negotiations until a company really wants to hire you, career experts suggest doing so unless the hiring manager brings up money, benefits, and/or vacation time first.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.