Leadership

HR expert with 30 years of experience: Don't ask these 4 common questions in an interview

The hiring process can be grueling for applicants, but it's no easier on the HR side. According to Barry Drexler, an expert interview coach with over 30 years of HR experience, applicants make many mistakes that can negatively impact their chances of getting hired. However, some are more "annoying" than others, he says.

Though every HR personnel has different triggers, Drexler reveals the four most common questions that applicants should avoid asking during the interview process:

1. 'What are the next steps?'

Don't ask what the next steps are, says Drexler. "Just don't do it."

First of all, the HR person doesn't work for you, he says, so they don't owe you an explanation about the next steps they will take. If they really want you to know the next steps, Drexler says they will inform you on their own.

Also, the answer is so obvious, says the HR expert. As with any interview, the next step is to compare you to other candidates and you will be contacted if the employer is interested in moving forward with your application.

Instead of wasting time asking about the next step, Drexler suggests that you say, "This interview has been fantastic and I would love working here." Then wrap up the interview with, "I look forward to hearing from you."

Treat an interview like dating, says the HR expert. You wouldn't ask a first date "What are the next steps?" Instead, you'd give it a positive spin and say, "I'm looking forward to seeing you again."

"Same thing goes for an interview," says Drexler. "It's like suggestive reasoning. I'm putting the thought in your head that you will be contacting me."

2. 'How do I compare to other candidates?'

An interviewer is never going to tell you how you compare to other applicants, says Drexler. So don't bother even asking.

"Again it's like dating," he says. You wouldn't ask "how do I compare to your other dates?" or "What don't you like about?" "You would never say that," says Drexler. "It's so insecure."

Along those same lines, Drexler says to never ask if there are any skills that you're missing, if you left anything out or if there is anything else that the interviewer wants to know about you.

"They say to do that so you can follow up with what's called a position statement," explains the HR expert. "It's the stupidest thing I ever heard."

He continues, "Don't ask those things. Ever."

3. 'Can you send me directions?'

In an age where Google Maps and Siri exist, there's usually no need to ask for directions, says Drexler. The HR expert recalls telling a candidate to arrive at 75 Wall Street. The applicant responded with, "Where is that?"

" I swear on my life," says Drexler. "'Where's Wall Street?' Are you kidding me?"

The HR expert says that this question "drives me crazy" because it's not his job to provide an applicant with directions. "I'm not a clerk," he says.

Drexler also suggests that you refrain from asking similar questions like, "How do I get there?" "What subway should I take?" or "What's the best route to get there?"

"None of those questions," he says. "That's a pet peeve of mine."

4. 'What does your company do?'

"Don't ask questions that you should already know the answer to," says Drexler. That includes questions like "what does the job entail?" because the job listing likely had a "three-page job description" explicitly stating all of the responsibilities, he says.

However, you should ask "thoughtful" questions framed as if you've already gotten the job. For example, "What would be my priorities in this role?" "What are your priorities as my manager?" or "What challenges will I face?"

These type of questions require answers directly from the source, says Drexler. He adds, "Don't ask questions that are easy to find on the website."

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