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8 Tricky Job Interview Questions

1. How long is this interview going to last? — No

Well, if that is your first question, certainly no more than five minutes.

2. What are the company’s policies on holidays/days off/paid leave? — Not necessarily bad

Not necessarily a bad question — it all depends on how you ask it. Don’t give the recruiter an impression that if you get the job, the first thing you will do after coming to the office on your first day will be booking your days off. Again — the interview is the time when you can ask any questions you may have. If what interests you is strictly related to the company’s regulations on days off, then it is as good a question as any. Not any different from asking, for example, what benefits come with the position.

Actually, we believe this question is quite reasonable. Some people just like planning things ahead, knowing what options they have. If you’re considering expanding your family soon, it will be a sensible thing to do to inquire about the company’s view on maternity/paternity leave. You don’t have to let the employer know you intend to make use of that leave right after they hire you — you can ask more generally, about the options of paid leave available to you. Show the recruiter that you’re serious about this job and planning on staying here long enough that this sort of information might become relevant in the future.

Note: Our only advice would be for this question not to be within the first ones, nor the only one you ask. While inquiring about leaves or days off isn’t necessarily a bad thing on its own, it may leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth if that is your only concern. To avoid this issue, you could ask about the details regarding your duties in the position, or any other work-related doubts. That will prove that you do not only care about what the company can give you, but also about what you can give to the company.

3. Can I work from home? — Totally fine

In the past, this question might have been considered impolite, yes. However, given the shift to remote work brought to us by the pandemic, it seems reasonable to ask it now. It is more likely now than before that an employer would be willing to allow their employees to occasionally work from home.

4. What do I have to do to get your job? — NO

However, don’t fall into the trap of believing you can fraternize with that person, not even a little bit. When you feel confident, it is natural to forget where you stand. However, don’t forget the setting and that confidentially asking for some advice that will give you an edge over the other candidates, might be the end-game.

No matter how friendly the recruiter is, they probably won’t appreciate you believing you are entitled to special treatment. If you feel like the communication between you and the interviewer is great, then maybe it’s a sign you don’t even need to ask for clues, because you’re just the right fit for the team!

5. What does this company do? — No, no, no!

6. Can I have another part-time job while working for you? — Not bad at all, but know how to formulate it

We are aware that it is a common opinion that this question is wrong. Still, we don’t particularly agree.

However, if you freelance within the area you are applying for a job in, that means you have previous experience — something the recruiter will consider an asset. For example, if you are applying for the position of a Content Creator and you have previously freelanced in copywriting, you will have a strong portfolio to back up your CV.

The propriety of this question depends on how you formulate it. Make sure to accentuate your time management skills and assure the recruiter that the freelancing you do after work won’t impact or interfere with your main job. Present it as an opportunity to further develop and practice your skills.

Try to say something along the lines of: “I have been doing some freelancing prior to applying to this position; I think it has provided me with a lot of valuable experience and I would like to continue to pursue it, if you approve of it. I will make sure it will not interfere in any way with my duties at this position, and will only serve as a means of me getting better professionally”.

There is no point in hiding it, either. Imagine you have a website your employer comes across at some point. This might raise questions and doubts as to why you would have hidden it, so better to come clean right at the beginning. You’re doing nothing wrong, so why hide it?

7. If I reach my goals, can I have the afternoon off? — Nope

We can tell you right here and now that the answer to that question will be ‘no’. The only thing you might gain by asking it is getting crossed off the potential candidates’ list — that is, if you can consider that a gain.

Some of you might be frowning right now, thinking: “Who in their right mind would ask that question during a job interview?”. Well, believe it or not, this is something Mónica has been asked at some point in the past, so we’d rather you be safe than sorry.

Recruiters look for candidates that are resourceful, motivated, and ready to take their own initiative. You don’t have to pretend your work for the company will be the very reason for your existence if you get the job. But you might also want to refrain from revealing how little care you have in whether the tasks you fulfill bring any results or not — because this might be what the recruiter will think after hearing you ask this question.

8. How did I do in this interview? — A-okay

Our HR Manager, Mónica, doesn’t consider asking for feedback at the end of the interview a bad thing. Personally, she does not perceive someone who has asked that question as self-conscious or doubting themselves. It is more of a sign of the candidate’s willingness to improve, of finding opportunities to learn.

You can even keep a journal where you will write down the valuable feedback you have received during your interviews — one evening, when you’re bored, you can crack it open and perform some analysis. Do the things you have heard have anything in common — is there anything you can start working on right now?

Again, the interview isn’t there to get you down — it is there to help you as well. Even if you don’t get the job, you can make the best of it and at least use the failed interview as a lesson. If you don’t know why you haven’t been chosen for the position, then you won’t be able to improve. Unless your aim is to go on countless interviews and repeating the same mistakes over and over again, we advise you to not hesitate to ask for feedback!

Are there any other tricky interview questions you have doubts about? Let us know in the comments below! The truth is, everyone’s comfort zone is different. Some might have trouble filtering what they say and end up putting their foot in their mouth. Others might not feel comfortable asking questions such as “What benefits come with this position?”, thinking it might be too straightforward.

We did our best to provide professional advice — it’s up to you how you use it! Maybe you have other examples of helpful questions you can ask at a job interview? If so, we would love to hear them!

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