more-arw search

Q&A Forum

5 Questions You Should Never Ask in a Job Interview

According to Catherine Conlan, Monster Contributing Writer, these 5 questions are major interview stoppers. Do you agree? I don't 100% agree with all 5.


Gerard van Stijn
Title: Head of Finance
Company: Simon Lévelt B.V.
(Head of Finance, Simon Lévelt B.V.) |

I agree with all of the article. It shows a candidate not being interested in the position itself, but rather in money and the next step.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Jobs today seem to be advertised as depending on experience, based on one's previous earning history and other factors not tied to both market rate and the value add that a potential candidate brings.

That being said, I would think inquiring about the budgeted range for a job would weed out for both sides individuals who want/require/need higher salaries.

However, this is a question to ask in the per-interview stage, not really at the first interview. Of an employer doesn't answer the question I. The pre-interview, then I feel something is amiss.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

People are interested in money and their future. So what?

To think otherwise, is foolish.

Aren't we all looking to maximize the return on our labor?

Don't we constantly discuss career management and aspirations right here on this blog?

Saying that interest in a position is not about money and future moves up the food chain is just BS that HR types in corporate America use as a selling tool so as to pay no more than they have to while obtaining maximum return on their employee investment.

Nothing wrong with that either.

It's just a dance. The market place at work.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

Question #4 I would think is reasonable to ask within the appropriate context especially if the job is a professional one The applicant would want to ascertain if the company offers laptops, smart devices etc to facilitate off-site work and also what type of policies they have to support work-life balance.

Konrad Sosnow
Title: Revenue Recognition Guru
Company: Konrad M. Sosnow & Associates
(Revenue Recognition Guru, Konrad M. Sosnow & Associates) |

How about questions that you should ask.

For Example - What are the largest challenges facing the Company and your department?
Then, you explain how you will be of great value in addressing these challenges.

(Accountant) |

I know you should never discuss salary at the first interview, but I really think a range should be included in job advertisements. Like Wayne said, I really don't want to waste my time chasing a position that is way out of my salary range, and I'm sure the company doesn't want to waste time, either.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Absolutely! If you don't know the salary range going in, then you need to find out before you waste their and your time. Salaries are all over the place and "competitive salary" is in the eye of the beholder.

BTDT! I can't count the number of times, desperate for a new challenge, I've gone on an interview without knowing the pay range they are offering only to find out that I'm wasting my time while I put my current job at risk because I'm looking elsewhere.

It's a frustrating and emotional experience. I've actually had to make up excuses in not accepting a post interview offer so as not to offend the offering company, because the compensation was half - literally - of what I was making and I didn't want to offend anyone by revealing how far off the mark they were.

I've also conducted interviews as a hiring manager where I believed we were offering market compensation only to focus on good, potential candidates and find out that I was wasting their time as their exiting total compensation package - salaries and benefits - was way more than I could offer.

Finally, don't potential employers require a salary history? Aren't they just shopping the market when they do this? Why shouldn't you?

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |


I never divulge my salary history. It permits the
Potential employee to cherry pick or make completely unfounded assumptions

Say I worked for three outfits, all in the same sales range but completely different industries. I may have completely different salaries and have taken and left the jobs for again totally different reasons.

Can anyone determine why from a) A resume or b) a cover letter that is often never read?

Even at an interview it is none of the potential employees business. If they tell me a range and I'm okay with it, them that's all they need.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I agree with the article if the interviewee initiated the contact. If the individual was recruited, I don't see an issue with any of these except the last.

Sergio Flores
Title: Partial Time Budget Planner
Company: ATP
(Partial Time Budget Planner, ATP) |

I agree with anonymous about salary. If the company doesn't inform the salary range when post the job, there's a chance when HR contacts the prospect for an interview, in there, mentioned the salary range and if it fits ok for him/her to go ahead, if not, both parts don't waist their time.

Sevinj Safarova
Title: Financial Analyst, CMA, MBA, MOS
Company: Not Disclosed
(Financial Analyst, CMA, MBA, MOS, Not Disclosed) |

I think it all depends if you are looking for a long-term job or for only 1-2 years. We are tended to be more picky when we are looking for long-term placement.

In fact, If I was a recruiter, the candidate not asking the first 4 questions (in proper manner and context of course) would raise a red flag for me that this person is not considering staying here for long term.

For question #1, I agree it is better ask what is needed to get promoted but it is not enough. I would also ask when I would be promoted given I did all needed for that.
#2: In many cases, I was asked on first interviews what salary range I am looking for. This question allowed me to go ahead and ask all important for me questions and they include #1, 3, 4. I start with "the salary range is not the only decision factor but one of several very important factors".

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Generally agree with the article. Regarding salary, I do think this is where a placement firm is usually helpful. You give them your salary info, they ask you what salary ranges you are comfortable with, and don't even waste your time - nor their own - with the opportunities that you simply can not entertain (forgive the usage, I dislike the phrase myself).

Only once did I take a pay cut to pursue an opportunity. Though I would not classify it as an outright error since I did benefit from the experience, I will say that it took longer to get back to where I started than I anticipated because in the interview I was told, "We don't waste time adjusting pay when performance merits it." I smile at my own naïveté looking back...

Products and Companies

Get Free Membership

By signing up, you will receive emails from Proformative regarding Proformative programs, events, community news and activity. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact Us.

Business Exchange

Browse the Business Exchange to find information, resources and peer reviews to help you select the right solution for your business.

Learn more

Contribute to Community

If you’re interested in learning more about contributing to your Proformative community, we have many ways for you to get involved. Please email [email protected] to learn more about becoming a speaker or contributing to the blogs/Q&A Forum.