The Worst Interview Questions to Ask

Imagine you’re on a first date, and things are going pretty well. You feel the chemistry and are getting excited about a second date. Your partner stares deep into your eyes and asks, “Do you have any concerns about me that I can address?” or better yet, “How do I measure up against the other people you’ve met?”   Lately, I’ve had several clients come to me asking if I recommend asking this question.  My honest answer:  It’s one of the worst interview questions to ask.

Interview questions to ask

The logic behind the question is that by asking it, you show the hiring manager that you’re open to feedback and it allows you to address any concerns that they have.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot wrong here.  First, asking a hiring manager if they have any concerns about you as a candidate, will more often than not, call attention to red flags that they may not have come to mind.  You are literally asking them to think of your flaws, in an interview.

Your shortcomings are the last thing you want a hiring manager to focus on, especially at the end of an interview.  Remember, once the conversation is over, they’re going to compare you to all of the other candidates, and if you leave them thinking about your concerns, that’s what is going to be freshest in their mind.

I’ve been in interviews where this question has been asked and it’s rarely gone well for the candidate.  Most of those candidates didn’t end up getting the job. Putting the interviewer on the spot like that can make them uncomfortable and puts them in an awkward position. Often they are interviewing other candidates and still aren’t sure about who they’re going to hire.  In an interview setting, hiring managers tend to be conflict-averse.  They have a candidate slate of 5-6 people for this position, and rather than engage in an uncomfortable dialogue; it’s much easier for them to give a candidate a non-answer than provide critical or potentially negative feedback.

Interview Questions to Ask

Here’s my go-to list of interview questions to ask the hiring manager.

  1.  What are the next steps in the process? If they’ve already answered this during the interview, go ahead and skip this question.
  2. What are the biggest challenges for this position?  Show the hiring manager that you’re not afraid of a challenge, and ask about the problems early on in the question series.
  3.  What would success look like for me?/What would you like to see me accomplish in the first <time-period>?  Helps the hiring manager visualize you being successful in the position
  4.  What do you enjoy the most about <the company/job/team/etc.>?  End your question series on a high note.  Remember, once you walk out of the room, they’re going to rate you.  Keep it positive.

How to Get Interview Feedback:

Getting constructive feedback on your performance during an interview can be invaluable, and I completely understand that it’s hard to come by.  While you might be tempted to ask the hiring manager in the interview, it’s not the time or the place.  Instead, ask for feedback in your thank you note.  By asking in a thank you note, you’re showing the hiring manager that you are open to feedback, but not putting them in an uncomfortable position.

Alternatively, if you are seeking honest, unbiased opinions on your interview performance, consider hiring an interview coach.  We’ll partner with you and give you direct and immediate interview feedback you can use to improve your interviewing skills.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.