I recently came across this brief list of 10 things not to ask on a job interview, and it got me thinking about job interviews. But first, the list:

1. Is there public transportation nearby?
2. Can I work from home?
3. Is there a probationary period?
4. What does the company do?
5. Is there on-site child care?
6. Will you check my Facebook page?
7. Do you pay for overtime?
8. How often do you give raises?
9. How often do employees get paid?
10. Do you offer Flex time?

Another list on CNN Money also listed some no-no questions, like “Do you allow midday naps?” “How much time do I have to put in?” “Can I have three weeks off every three months to pursue my music career?” and “Could I get a pay advance?”

Since coming to NewmanPR eight years ago, I have participated in executing numerous job interviews for a variety of positions (office admin, account coordinator, account exec, intern…) so I’m coming from a different perspective: the interviewer. It never fails to amaze me when interviewees come in and either ask an inappropriate question like the above or fail to ask any questions.

I always ask the person I am interviewing if they have any questions for me. After all, I have been here a while and I’ve been in the PR travel and tourism industry even longer. As has my boss. If you look on our company website, you can read our bios and see our backgrounds. Then you’d know we’re an agency that specializes in travel marketing and PR. In fact, we’re making it pretty easy for any interviewee to come in with some solid questions about our agency and its clients.

So my advice to all of the job hunters out there going on an interview at our agency or any company is to read up about your potential employer and come prepared to ask some smart questions that show you took the time to learn about our company. It’s not secret information. Most sights have it front and center. And if you’re going to an agency like ours, read up about the clients. They are listed on the website. Read about the team members and your potential colleagues.

Interviewees also should be ready to answer some off-the-walls questions, and not just your standard “Do you know AP style?” Someone in my office (who shall remain nameless) likes to ask the “If you were a dog, what kind would you be and why?” Hmmmmm, that’s a tough one. Maybe a mutt because they have the potential to combine many different aspects of several breeds to create the ultimate super dog. Good answer, right? Also know where you are in the interview process so you’re not asking about vacation days and 401K on the first interview.

These might seem like common sense tips for anyone going on a job interview, but there are a lot of people out there who lack common sense. Asking a few smart questions is certain to impress the interviewer and show that you really do want to work at their company.

In a follow-up post, I’ll address interview attire, why it’s essential to send a thank you note following your interview and other advice.

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