Bob Goldman

It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to stay unemployed these days, but for those of you who are fighting the urge to work, Maria Hanson of LiveCareer has come up with a list of 14 questions not to ask in a job interview. My idea is that if you memorize these questions -- and ask every single one of them -- there's no chance you will be hired, times 14! So, you can continue your lush life of living in a refrigerator box under the freeway and eating out of dumpsters.

Being a generous sort, I am willing to share Hanson's research with those of you who actually do want a job and are busily lining up interviews for that twisted purpose. Just remember -- instead of asking these questions, you want to not ask them, not unless you sense the interview is going south and you want to bail.

And it's OK to pull the rip cord, trust me. There's plenty of room for you and the family in Casa Amana.

Dead-End Question No. 1: "How much does the job pay?" Quoting Todd Moster, a Los Angeles recruiter, Hanson lets us know that "raising the subject of money during the interview stage may give the impression, rightly or wrongly, that all you care about is the money."

Heaven forbid! Frankly, I am amazed that any employer would think that any applicant is actually working for money, especially considering the measly salaries that are being offered these days. Still, I agree with Moster's analysis. If you do want the job, make it very clear that you have absolutely no interest in remuneration. "I certainly hope you're not going to insult me with a paycheck," you might tell the hiring manager. "Because just working in the same company with someone as smart and good-looking as you is the only compensation I could ever want."

Other questions from no-no land include asking about what kind of benefits you will get, how many hours you will have to work, or how much vacation time is available during the first year. Makes sense, I suppose. Every employer wants to believe that they are so darn wonderful, you would work 24/7 without vacation and with a health plan that is limited to one box of Band-Aids per year.

Still, the information would be worth knowing. I suggest you use a perfectly innocent question, like "If I book a cruise during the first month of working here, will I be able to use my health insurance in the Caribbean?" As for determining the number of hours you're expected to be present, disguise your curiosity with a totally acceptable question, such as " does the workday include the six hours I spend at my desk playing Asteroids?"

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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