At the end of your conversation, the interviewer will usually ask if you have any questions. Don’t ignore this part. Asking the right questions can add a bonus to your application. On the other hand, bad candidate questions could make the interviewer reject you right in the room.
Here are some typical negative examples I have encountered in past interviews. Feel free to comment if you have other interesting cases.
Question 1: “What major problem is your company currently facing, and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem?”
I don’t know where you read it, but it will immediately expose you as an inexperienced new graduate. First of all, you are a fresh student who just came out of school. Even though you have done some co-ops or internships, we are not expecting you to help us resolve any strategic problems.
Secondly, “how do you think I can help you?”—hold on one second. Shouldn’t this be the question we ask you? If we can figure out how we think you can help us, we wouldn’t have invited you for the interview.
A question like this may sound proper in a c-suite interview, but if you are a new graduate student and ask this, you will make yourself immediately an inside-out-fresh candidate.
Question 2: “What have you enjoyed most about working here?”
Again, nerd question. It sounds like you are challenging the interviewer. The meaning behind this question is, “are you really happy working here?”
Perhaps the real thing you want to know is the most fun part of working here. If you really want to know, it is better to ask in that manner and gather general information instead of asking about that specific interviewer’s feelings.
Question 3: “How many people does your company employ? What business do you do?”
I know what your intention is when asking these questions. You want to know more about the company. But, how to ask appropriately plays a significant role in this case. It might be too straightforward if you ask in the above way. It sounds like you are an auditor doing investigations.
Perhaps try a different tone: “Although I have done some research before this interview, may I know more about your company, in terms of size, products and major clients?” – Doesn’t it sound better?
Question 4: “Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?”
Another low-EQ question. Firstly, if I have any hesitations about your qualifications, why did I interview you in the first place? Secondly, unless the interviewer is straightforward, they will express their satisfaction with your capabilities. Further, any further comments they make might trigger a discrimination case.
Never ask your interviewer any of these questions because they may lead to rejection. Chances are, you might be overreaching yourself. Last impressions are also critical. Ask questions based on your conversation rather than asking to make an impression.