Do’s & Don’ts

Winning Questions to Ask

Interview etiquette requires that you, as the applicant allow the interviewer to direct and control the first part of the interview. They take the lead in asking the questions about your work experience, education, skills and attitude.

However, at some point, the interviewer will turn to you and ask if you have any questions. You must be ready with questions that demonstrate your business judgment and maturity.

Here are some questions that may be appropriate to ask. Review these questions before each interview and decide which ones apply to your situation.

1. Why was this position created?
2. What are the primary objectives during the first six months?
3. What is the most urgent or difficult part of the job?
4. Why did the previous person in this position leave?
5. What freedom would I have in getting the job done?
6. What do you see as my greatest strengths and weaknesses in terms of this position?
7. When will you be making your decision to fill this position?

Note: Questions as to style and authority may be best asked at offer time, or a 2nd interview level at earliest.


Questions NOT to Ask

Don’t Ask


What does this company do? It would be obvious that you did no research on the company.
Will I be up for promotion within a year? Promotions are based on performance, not time. This question will give the interviewer a caution flag.
What does this job pay? Salary should never be discussed until an offer. Repeat being open to a reasonable, competitive offer.

Deadly Don’ts

Preparation Hints/Stress Relievers

  • Smoking
  • Chewing gum
  • Putting anything on the interviewer’s desk
  • Interrupting
  • Fidgeting
  • Complaining
  • Over promising
    (You may be perceived as arrogant and naive. Answer what would be realistic to the interviewer)
  • Talking about personal problems
  • Misleading or misrepresenting
  • Leaving without a genuine hand shake and a smile
  • Entertaining thoughts as to whether or not you wish to further pursue the position
  • Write down the appointment date and time, the interviewer’s name and the location.
  • Arrive early – at least 15 minutes… (but walk in on time, 5 minutes early is enough.)
  • Have copies of your resume with you in case extras are needed. (use no larger than 8 1/2 x 11 writing folder or 5 1/2 x 8.)
  • Have names, addresses and phone numbers of references. (Have handy, use only as necessary. Be sure to talk to them first, ask what they would say.)
  • On the day of the interview, review the research you did on the company.
  • Be prepared to ask questions about the job and the short term objectives of the position.
  • Be prepared to show you can benefit the company.
  • Anticipate difficult questions by the interviewer and be prepared to answer them.
  • Look your best.