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I spend a lot of time preparing people for interviews, be they for college/medical school or jobs. At YU we also have software that helps students gain more comfort with the process and – through artificial intelligence – can give them great feedback regarding whether they are maintaining good eye contact, speaking too fast or too slowly, pausing appropriately, etc. It’s very common for interviewers to ask the candidate if they have any questions. My philosophy is that interviews are a two-way street, i.e., both parties need to ensure that this will be a good “shidduch.” As such, I often recommend to candidates that if there are important things you’d like to find out, don’t wait till the end to ask these questions. The interviewer may run out of time and/or just give curt responses. Ideally, speak to others at the company before you even arrive at the interview to get some of your important questions answered in advance.

In the spirit of Purim, here are some questions to avoid asking during an interview:

  1. Do you do random drug tests?
  2. Are you single?
  3. Do you monitor lunch breaks?
  4. Can I date co-workers, or bosses…?
  5. Do you like scary movies?
  6. Would you like to go for a drink? I’m a bit better when I’ve had a couple.
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Below, I’ve collated some good questions for candidates to ask. However, if you get any of these interviewer responses, you may want to rethink whether this is the best place for your talents:

Candidate: What’s the company culture like?

Interviewer: Incredibly stressful, competitive and to be honest, a little vicious.

Candidate: What happened to the last person who had my job?

Interviewer: You don’t want to know…

Candidate: What do you enjoy most about working here?

Interviewer: Leaving at 5. 30pm.

Candidate: What happens now?

Interviewer: How would you feel if I asked you out on a date?

Candidate: When can I expect to hear a decision?

Interviewer: Right now; you haven’t got the job.

Candidate: Do you socialize with colleagues outside work?

Interviewer: No way. Did you not see them?

Candidate: Where do you think I’ll be in five years?

Interviewer: Probably working somewhere else. People don’t last long here.

Candidate: Is there anything else you’d like to know about me?

Interviewer: I’m leaving in a week, so to be honest, I really don’t care.

Candidate: What was your first impression of me?

Interviewer: A little bit stupid.

Candidate: Can you tell me a little more about the role?

Interviewer: Honestly, you’ll spend most of your time running around after me.

And here are some responses to avoid during an interview:

Interviewer: Why do you want to work with us?

Candidate: My mom said I have to get a job or she’ll stop giving me money.

Interviewer: Did you bring your references with you?

Candidate: I tried, but they couldn’t get the time off work.

Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Candidate: Probably a beautiful beach somewhere.

Interviewer: What attracted you to the role?

Candidate: Honestly, I’m just here for the interview practice.

What’s the funniest or weirdest interview moment you’ve ever experienced? I’d love to hear from you.

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Rabbi Daniel Coleman, MBA, is sought after for his creative and strategic approach to career preparedness, transitions, and success. In addition to presenting to high school groups on career/financial preparedness, Daniel coaches college-bound students on navigating the admission process and crafting an excellent application. He is a popular scholar in residence in communities across America and beyond. Connect with him at coleman4coaching@gmail.com or on LinkedIn.