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Is It Bad to Ask Too Many Questions During a Job Interview?

Being Too Inquisitive During a Job Interview Could Be a Red Flag

Q: Heather, 

I read your article about dealing with office bullies and replied to one of the other people who commented. Could you please answer this question for me: "Wouldn't asking about dispute resolution at an interview be as taboo as asking about the money they are willing to pay you?" 

Thank you,
Michelle 


A: Excellent question, Michelle. I’d like to expand upon my prior email response to you.

In June I took my three kids hiking throughout Colorado. Because we were doing high altitude hiking, we had to be prepared for the types of weather events and emergencies that can occur above 14,000 feet. Of course, the more "prepared" a hiker is, the more he or she has to carry, and there's a limit to what one should haul through snow fields and up and down the sides of mountains. Food, water filtration, maps and weather protection were "essentials," but had we been stranded on one our day hikes, we’d have huddled together with emergency blankets in a crevice, not tucked into a tent camp with extension cords for our phone chargers. 

Had I loaded my kids up with cooking stoves, flare guns and snowshoes -- just in case -- they would have assumed a) I planned to risk their lives more than usual, b) I lacked trust in their ability to get up and down trails in a timely manner, or c) I lacked confidence in my own ability to lead them safely. Better to pack the basics and be prepared to improvise than turn a fun vacation into a consuming production.

Excessive questioning of a potential employer can be a bit revealing as well. There is indeed a limit to what you should haul into that job interview. Preparation is good but allowing yourself to be swept into all the "maybes" -- What if I get fired unjustly? What if the job requirements change later? What if Casual Fridays are eliminated? -- is akin to counting chickens that aren’t even growing in eggs yet. Seeking clarity on responsibilities, potential career development and basic logistics is "essential." The statistics on corporate lawsuits? Not so much.

Inquiring about dispute resolution during an interview would indicate either a suspicion toward the company -- in which case, why would you want to work for them? Or alternately, some difficulty in your employment history -- in which case, most employers will find it easier to simply move on to the next candidate. 

Thanks for writing!
Heather


If you have a question for Heather, email her at Heather@heatherdugan.com and maybe she'll answer it in her next column!