Skip to content
January 28, 2013 / mike54martin

What Not to Ask at a Job Interview


There’s lots of great advice out there about what questions a prospective employee should ask at an interview. Like questions about possibilities for promotion which show that you are a go-getter and are looking to advance and succeed. Or even practical questions like when you might hear some results about the hiring process. But then there are another set of questions that you should never ask. I call them dumb and dumber.

Sick Days?

Dumb questions might be ones that talk about the candidates personal needs like how many vacation and sick days you are entitled to. Or if you can leave early to pick up your kids from daycare. They might be important questions to arrange your schedule but wait until you get the job already, before you start asking about the benefits or making special arrangements.

What does the company do?

Another dumb question might be to ask what type of business the company you are trying to get a job with is engaged in. Those are the things that you should have researched before you got into the interview room. Asking that sort of question not only makes you look unprepared. It makes you look dumb.


But there are even dumber questions than that. Ones that will probably ensure that you will never get the job you are interviewing for. Here are two of the best, or dumbest, courtesy of David MacFadden at the Alberni Valley Employment Centre in British Colombia. The first is “Do you require a drug test?” Duh? If I am sitting on the employer side of the table I do not know whether I should cancel the interview or call the police.

Do you check?

The second is “Do you check references?” Does that mean you have given us faulty references and are hoping we don’t check? Or that you can’t get a good reference. Either way it doesn’t look good to an employer and it makes you look dumb. Not getting that job either.


And finally one more of the dumbest questions I’ve heard lately is “How many warnings do I get before I get fired?” The answer? None. Because we would never hire you!!

There are many more dumb and dumber questions that you should never ask because they make your chances of success remote at best. Instead you should focus on looking good, being prepared and showing up on time. Then you might actually get that job you’re looking for.

This post first appeared on my blog at

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant and the author of The Walker on the Cape, a Sgt. Windflower mystery.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: