The Definitive Guide to Business with Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis reveals the one question job candidates should never ask in an interview

It's important to ask questions during a job interview — but there's one question you should always avoid, according to serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis: "What does the job pay?"

"One thing turns me off in an interview more than anything else and that's spending time talking about the pay," says the self-made millionaire and star of CNBC's "The Profit."

"Let's like each other first. Let's agree philosophically on what your role is going to be and what you're going to add to the business," he says.

Before asking about your salary, "sell me on why the business can't afford to not have you," Lemonis says.

Marcus Lemonis at the Iconic Conference in Denver, CO, on June 15, 2016.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Marcus Lemonis at the Iconic Conference in Denver, CO, on June 15, 2016.

Rather than asking directly about compensation, Lemonis suggests asking questions about your potential growth within the company, such as:

  • Are there opportunities for me to grow?
  • Are there opportunities for me to get promoted?
  • Is there ever a chance that I could have your job or run this company?

Setting yourself up for growth has more potential to pay off in the long run than zeroing in on the numbers, Lemonis says.

"People sometimes treat themselves like a commodity. They're working somewhere for a certain amount of money … and are willing to bounce jobs for $1,000 or $2,000, rather than look for the opportunity ahead," he says.

"That means that in a year, they're going to be interviewing with somebody else that pays them $1,000 more."

If you want to earn the big bucks, ask about how you'll be able to grow within the company — not about the size of your paycheck.

CNBC's "The Profit" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT.