Questionable Questions? Work Expectations, Salary Top of Mind for Candidates During Job Interviews

Employers aren’t the only ones doing the asking during job interviews. A large majority (84 percent) of professionals polled by Accountemps said they typically pose questions of their own when meeting with hiring managers. Unfortunately, some of the queries among respondents were questionable.

For example:

  • “How late do you consider too late for showing up to work?”
  • “When can I retire?”
  • “Can I take a three-week vacation?”
  • “When can I get a raise?”

“The interview is the perfect opportunity to learn about the company’s priorities, the position and how you can add value,” said Bill Driscoll, a district president of Accountemps. “When first meeting with potential employers, it’s better to pose big-picture questions so you can discover how aligned your skills and personality are with the role and the organization. You can delve into the details in future meetings.”

Professionals were asked, “When interviewing for a job, do you typically ask the hiring manager any questions of your own?





Don’t know/no answer



The most common questions professionals asked fell into the following categories. Their top responses included:

Professional expectations/responsibilities




Corporate culture




Chances for advancement


Five questions that can help applicants gain useful insight during job interviews:

  1. What is a typical day like for someone in this position? Not only can you learn about the standard duties, but you also will get a sense for how closely your prospective manager understands what’s involved with the job.
  2. Who was in the role before me, and why did they leave? Be wary if the job is a revolving door; there could be unrealistic expectations or other reasons that people in this function haven’t been set up for success.
  3. What qualities do you think would make someone successful in this position? The answer can help you highlight your relevant traits and determine if your strengths are a match.
  4. What do you see as the greatest opportunities for the company in the next several years? The response gives you a sense of the firm’s prospects and whether leadership is more pragmatic or visionary.
  5. What do you like most about working here? This gives you information about the corporate culture and also what most motivates and inspires your potential manager.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 U.S. workers 18 years or older and employed in office environments.

About Guest Author Accountemps

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 340 offices worldwide.



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