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What not to ask at a job interview

It's often said there are no bad questions, but a new OfficeTeam survey suggests otherwise.

OfficeTeam is a leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 315 locations worldwide and offers online job search services.

Human resources (HR) managers were asked to recount the most unusual or surprising question they have heard a job seeker ask during an interview.

Here are some of their responses:

  • "Do I have to be at work every day?"
  • "Would you consider going on a date with me?"
  • "Do you want to take a ride in my new car?"
  • "What colour is the paint in this office?"
  • "Can my husband finish this test for me?"
  • "Is the boss single?"
  • "Do you have a job for my partner?"
  • "What are the women who work here like?"
  • "How do you think I did on the interview?"

OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals, developed the survey. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 650 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada.

Some professionals were most concerned about their next big "break":

  • "Do you allow midday naps?"
  • "Can I get every Tuesday off?"
  • "How soon can I take my first vacation?"
  • "Can I have three weeks off every three months to pursue my music career?"
  • "How much time do I have to put in?"
  • "Can I have my birthday off?"

Then there were individuals who didn't think the following requests were out of the question:

  • "Can I place my desk near the cafeteria?"
  • "Could I get a pay advance?"
  • "Can you help me search for an apartment?"
  • "Is it OK to wear shorts to work?"
  • "Can you help me with the employment test?"
  • "Can I set my own hours?"

And one job seeker clearly didn't know what he was getting himself into:

  • "What job is this for?"

"Job seekers can set themselves apart by asking intelligent questions about the company and the position," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Before interviews, candidates should thoroughly research the employer and come up with questions that show interest in and knowledge of the organization."

Hosking added, "It's also useful to pose questions that will shed light on the corporate culture and what it takes to be successful in the role. Compensation, benefits and vacation time are often best discussed once an employer has expressed serious intent in extending a job offer."

OfficeTeam identifies eight questions job seekers should consider asking during interviews:

  1. While researching your firm, I learned the company recently [fill in the blank]. How does this affect your current strategy?
  2. Can you describe a typical workday for a person in this role?
  3. What skills and attributes are most important for success in this role?
  4. How would you describe the work environment here?
  5. Why is this position open?
  6. What is the typical career path for someone in this position?
  7. What do you enjoy most about working here?
  8. What are the next steps in the hiring process?

About OfficeTeam
Follow OfficeTeam at twitter.com/officeteam, and gain insights into the latest administrative hiring and salary trends.



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