You’re in the hot seat and everything is going well. You feel good about your responses to the interviewer’s questions; the culture seems like a great fit; and the more you hear about the role, the more it sounds like your dream job.
Then the hiring manager asks, “Have any questions for me?”
Your response: “Yes, I do. First, how many hours would I be expected to work?”
And just like that, you’re out of the running.
Here are a few questions that can kill your chances of landing a job, according to Brian de Haaf, founder and CEO of software company Aha!:
1. “What does your company really do?”
You might as well just say, “So, I didn’t prepare for this interview.”
“You wouldn’t like it if an interviewer didn’t do their homework before speaking with you, so why would you not extend the same courtesy?” de Haaf asks in a recent LinkedIn post. “No matter the role you’re interviewing for, you should be familiar with the company and what they do. It’s your job to approach the interview excited to explain how your unique skills will help the team achieve it.”
Not preparing sufficiently tells the interviewer you’re not seriously interested in the job — and also says you have no respect for their time.
2. “How many hours would I be expected to work?”
“This question says a lot about a candidate’s priorities,” says de Haaf. “The interview is your place to shine and show why you’re the best person for the role. Since the most successful workers are great at time management, you should be confident that you can prioritise to get the job done.”
It also tells the interviewer that you’re only interested in doing the bare minimum, de Haaf adds. So avoid questions about hours, paid time off, and sick days.
3. “When will I get a raise?”
This is another revealing question, de Haaf says. “Those who ask this show that money is their primary motivator,” he explains. Employees earn raises through hard work — not time. “The best candidates know this and are willing to work for advancement. They don’t expect it outright — or ask about it in interviews.”
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