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You are at the end of answering questions in your job interview when the inevitable question comes up. Do you have any questions to ask us? You need to be prepared for this as the worst answer is to say no. This answer will indicate either a lack of interest in the company, the job or a sense of desperation to get the job. While it is crucial that you have at least a couple of questions to ask, it is also vitally important that they be the right questions. This is your opportunity to show that you have done research on the company, to highlight your work ethics, talents and professionalism. This is also dangerous territory as asking the wrong questions could create questions in the mind of the interviewer(s), put you into a negative light and lose the job you may have had due to doing a great job in the rest of the interview.

Here are 7 areas to avoid when it comes to asking the interviewer(s) questions:

Questions About the Organization You Could Have Easily Researched

Basic questions about the company can and should be researched prior to going into the interview. You should never ask questions such as how many employees they have, who their competition is, where they are located and how many locations do they have. This shows that you haven’t done your homework. Questions about your lack of initiative, interest in the company and the job will likely arise in the mind of the interviewer(s). On the other hand, having done this research allows you to ask a question that delves more deeply into something you have discovered. This will show that you have done your research, are keen, interested in their company and puts you into a positive light.

Pay and benefits questions

These are the types of inquiries that should be left until you have been offered the job. Asking them at this time may leave the impression that you are only interested in the position in terms of what you can get out of it. The employer is interested in what you have to contribute and wants to gauge your interest in, and commitment to, the work itself. Usually the pay range and benefits will be included in the job postings.

Time Off, Holidays and Flexible Hours Questions

Work-life balance is great, but the employer interviewing you is interested foremost in your commitment to the organization. These types of questions will bring up doubts in their mind about whether you are more interested in the job itself or that it will fit into your lifestyle. As with pay and benefits, this is an area that should be left to work out with the employer if and when you are offered the job. If you know that the position requires some evening and weekend work you could let them know that you are flexible with your time.

Questions About Reviews and Probationary Periods

While you will be curious about how often your performance will be reviewed, whether there is a probationary period and how long it is, it is best not to ask these questions. Doing so may leave some doubt in the employer’s mind regarding your confidence and ability to do the job.

How Soon Before You Receive a Promotion

On the opposite end of the previous question, asking directly about how soon they expect you will be promoted may come across as arrogance or a sense of entitlement. Few organizations have a set time for promoting their people, it all depends upon their performance and ability. Asking this question may be interpreted as having little interest in the job you are applying for, only as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. A good question to ask would be around their policy of promoting within the organization and the number of management in the organization that come up through the ranks.

Background Checks and Drug Testing Policies

Questions along these lines will be a red flag for the employer that you may have something to hide. They may logically assume that unless you had something to cover up, you would not have thought of asking the question. If drug testing is carried out it should be clearly indicated in the job description. Many organizations will check social media prior to interviews. Photos of drunken partying with friends may seem you are a great person to hang out with to your crowd, but will not impress someone who is looking to hire you. View your social media through the eyes of an employer and ask yourself what would they like, and not like to see.

Monitoring of Your Computer Use and Sites Visited

Another red flag question that could bring up serious concerns about how much time you are planning to spend online that is not work-related. Assuming the primary reason you have online access is to allow you to do your job better. While the employer may not mind you doing the occasional tweet or to check facebook when not busy, they are under no obligation to do so. This is an area to tread carefully and you will learn more about through the grapevine once you start work with the company.

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