Interview questions NOT to ask during a job search

A question you should not ask at interviews is “how much vacation do I get?” To ask about fringe benefits too soon during the interview process is like asking someone on a first date, “How much money do you have?” You’ll find out the answers to both questions when the time is right?

When is the right time to ask about your vacation?

You can pop the vacation question during the last stage of the interview process. This happens if a prospective employer likes you and decides to make you an offer. This final interview stage is called “the offer interview.”

So until and unless that time arrives, you must try to avoid conversation about money or making a statement about fringe benefits. After all, you’re goal for any interview is to find out what you can do for a company, not what a company can do for you. As explained above, that comes later.

Interview questions that are appropriate to ask

Questions that are good to ask at interviews need to reflect your interest in the position and the company—not your self-interest in how much vacation you’re entitled to during the first year of employment. Examples of appropriate questions you can ask are, “Would you describe the perfect candidate for the job?” “What do you expect me to accomplish during my first few months on the job?” And, “How will you evaluate my performance?”

How to negotiate vacations

As part of corporate policy, some firms give out vacations based on seniority. However, they often have special deals for new hires like you. You might get the same number of weeks you previously enjoyed if it’s not more than the firm allows its other workers.

But what if you’re offered a job with less vacation time than you’re used to getting? Or, you’ve been offered a position but aren’t sure if you want to give up the month’s vacation to which you’ve been entitled on your current or last job. Then use vacation as a negotiating tool.

A way you can use this tool is to figure out what your pay would be for the weeks you are not being allowed and negotiate your new salary to reflect the difference.

Either way, it’s important you save discussion about salary, vacations, and other fringe benefits until the last part—the offer part—of an interview. Then go for it. Ask for more money than what you’ve been offered and pop the question —“how much vacation do I get.”

One of the toughest parts of any job search is asking for money. Or for that matter, asking for a raise on your current job. Most people hate to ask for more money because they equate it with begging.

You’ll learn easy ways to get the salary and vacation time you deserve in the chapter titled “The secrets of negotiating salary and getting a raise” in my book: Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach. CLICK HERE to learn more about the book.

FOLLOW THIS LINK to order “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach” from Amazon.

 Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place


About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.