A guest post from Laura Slingo, a digital copywriter for CV-Library:

Recent research from job board CV-Library has revealed some of the most fatal interview preparation techniques.

The research revealed that while over three-quarters of professionals will prepare questions in advance of an interview, 87.4% believe that there are certain questions candidates should avoid asking if they want to get the job.

Take a look at the following five interview questions that have jeopardised your job hunting peers’ chances of securing a job.

What does your company do?

An interview’s purpose is a two-way street. Not only does the employer have to make sure that you are a good fit for the role, but you have to make sure that the company is right for you too.

The best way for you to work this out is by researching the company prior to the interview – and your interviewers expect you to do this.

However, if you’re asking what the company does in the interview, not only does it show that you’re unprepared, but also that this could be a waste of time for both parties as you have no idea if this job is a decent match.

Therefore, ask this question in an interview and you’re likely to doom your chances of success.

Who are the company’s market competitors?

Part of your interview preparation is not only to research the company’s mission and values, but also where it stands in the industry.

If you ask your interviewers who the company’s competitors are, they are likely to assume that you have not conducted your research thoroughly and are not overly knowledgeable regarding the sector.

While you don’t need to know the competitors inside out, you should at least familiarise yourself with their stance in the field and how they measure up against the company you’re applying to. This will highlight your professional aptitude, your willingness to learn and your fitness for onboarding.

How much will I get paid?

Regardless of whether the salary bracket is mentioned on the job description or not, questions around money can often touch a nerve with potential employers.

Salary is important and employers don’t expect you to do the job for free. As such, there is a time and a place for money talk and a first interview isn’t necessarily the best. Asking about how much you’ll be paid in such a crude way could suggest that you’re not really interested in the job or the work involved.

If you’re curious about the wage, phrase your question more tactfully, such as asking about the employee benefits package. Alternatively, “what is your salary expectation?” is a common interview question, so you could always wait until the employers ask you.

How often do you give your employees a pay rise?

Discussing opportunities for progression and development is a great talking point in an interview as it suggests you’ll be with the company for the long-haul.

However, asking bluntly about pay rises is not the way to do so as, much like asking about salary, it suggests money is your priority, not the job.

Adopt a softer approach to this topic instead. Ask about development opportunities to gain a sense of what the employer can offer you as a whole. You can assume that if there’s space for you to move up a level, a pay rise will come in tow.

Will I have to work long hours?

Workplace culture differs from business to business. For some organisations, working longer than your contracted hours is expected, for others, not so much.

It’s important that your new place of employment has a work hours and commitment policy that works for you. If you’re opposed to a long-hours culture, there are better ways to ask the question than “will I have to work long hours?”.

Why not try these as alternatives:

  • What are the working hours like?
  • Does the company operate via 9-5 or flexitime?
  • What is the office culture like?

By asking these alternatives, you’re more likely to get a sense of the commitment expected from you and work out if the company is the right fit for you, without ticking off your potential employer.

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

Lis McGuire

Lis McGuire

Lis McGuire is a professional CV writer at Giraffe CVs. She has 15 years of experience gained delivering interview-winning CVs and cover letters for professionals at all levels, helping individuals to stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive job market.
Lis McGuire
Lis McGuire