The U.S. unemployment rate might be 6.3 % as of May 2014 – the lowest number since September of 2008 – but that’s no reason to get cocky, job seekers. There’s plenty of room to screw up in the job-hunt process, a truth no more evident than during the interview stage.
As Alison Green writes on her U.S. News blog, “your interviewer wants to know that you’re interested in the details of the job…otherwise, you risk signaling that you’re either not that interested or just haven’t thought very much about it.”
In other words, act like a professional and try not to sick your foot in your mouth by asking questions like these:
1. What are my chances of taking over your position?
Don’t aim to usurp your interviewer’s middle-management role. Think bigger – it will exhibit your strong determination and pedigree.
2. Do you have any neighborhood lunch recommendations?
Considering you might be the one fetching others’ lunch as the “new guy,” you should already know the answer. Remember, Yelp is your friend.
3. Assuming I get the job, can I take next Friday off?
Most experienced professionals would use a sick day instead.
4. Are you free tonight?
Try to hide your attraction to your interviewer until you’ve landed the job. Or, if you’re the cautious type, at least wait until the third or fourth office Happy Hour.
5. Does your insurance plan cover drug- and alcohol-abuse treatment?
Your co-workers want someone they can share an after-work drink or bump with. Not someone with the tolerance of a 10-year-old boy.
6. How exactly did I land this interview again?
You’ve shown a major lack of confidence in your abilities. At least pretend you’re a capable candidate.
7. Will my office have room for a 50-inch HDTV?
Don’t be selfish. Your prospective employer likely fosters a team environment, which means all office TV-watching will be a communal affair in the break room.
8. I’m an omnist—does that mean I’m off for all religious holidays?
Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to. Of course you’ll get those days off. The last thing a company wants is a lawsuit on its hands.
9. Are Wednesday’s mandatory?
Remember the basic professional rule: sick days.