15 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask in a Job Interview

Just one bad question can ruin your chances of getting hired. This list will help you avoid questions that may raise red flags.

portrait of Evan Thompson
by Evan Thompson

Published August 23, 2022

Edited by Jennifer Cuellar
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15 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask in a Job Interview
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It's not uncommon for hiring managers to hear job interview questions that raise red flags. One sticks out for Devin Schumacher, founder of SERP, a digital marketing agency.

"Are you going to need to run a background check?"

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Schumacher couldn't believe what he'd just heard. When the interviewee saw his reaction, they apologized and played it off like it was a joke — which Schumacher believes was sincere.

But the damage was already done.

"Unfortunately, it left me with the impression that I wouldn't be able to trust his judgment about appropriate workplace conversations," Schumacher said. "What might he say to clients? Or to co-workers?"

Schumacher's story is a welcome reminder for job-seekers to be mindful of what they ask during job interviews.

light-bulb iconRemember: Asking good questions during a job interview helps you make a strong impression and increases your chances of being hired.

Why are impressions important during job interviews?

"The reason why impressions matter in the workplace is because we are all still human beings even at work, and humans can be very relationship driven. We want to work with people we enjoy collaborating with, who push us to be our best selves, and with who we are able to learn/grow with."
Sarah Doughty, vice president of talent operations, TalentLab

But asking bad questions can quickly ruin any goodwill you've built. For example, questions that lack self-awareness, could easily be researched, or seem in poor taste may reflect badly on you.

You should also avoid asking certain questions too soon, especially if it has to do with salary, hours, and benefits. Those are questions for a recruiter — not the person interviewing you.

So, which questions shouldn't you ask? Here are 15 questions to avoid in a job interview.

  1. 1. What does your company do?
  2. 2. Who is your top competitor?
  3. 3. Are you going to run a background check?
  4. 4. Do you drug test employees?
  5. 5. Will I get an office?
  6. 6. Will you be monitoring my social media accounts or email usage?
  7. 7. Are there openings in other departments?
  8. 8. How strictly do you enforce office policies?
  9. 9. Can I change my working hours?
  10. 10. What's your time off policy?
  11. 11. Why did my predecessor leave this role?
  12. 12. When can I start taking time off?
  13. 13. When will I get a raise?
  14. 14. How much does this position pay?
  15. 15. I'm not sure if I can do this job, can you tell me more about it?

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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