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I found this related question on WPSE, but my question is slightly different.

Not too long ago I had two telephone interviews with two different companies and on both occasions the interviewer asked if I had any questions. Both times I asked them to elaborate on the technology I would be using (both job postings were vague) and they were unable to answer. I didn't end up getting either job, but it made me wonder, can it reflect poorly on me to ask a question the interviewer is unable to answer?

My intention was never to ask a question I knew they didn't know. I can only assume the answers I give to the questions they ask are being documented for review later, including all questions I ask the interviewer. Is it possible that they removed me from consideration because they didn't want to document that I asked a question they couldn't answer because it would reflect poorly on them?

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    Welcome to this SE. For in the future I would suggest you leave your question "unanswered" for at least 24 hours to give others a chance to respond. I for one would've written an answer contradicting Joe, as I'm of the opinion that an interviewee should be able to answer in-depth question that a candidate might have. – rkeet Aug 13 '18 at 20:41
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    @rkeet - Feel free to leave an answer :D. It might help anyone who has the same question to read different points of view, and you probably will get a few upvotes. – user91242 Aug 13 '18 at 20:59
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Both times I asked them to elaborate on the technology I would be using (both job postings were vague) and they were unable to answer. I didn't end up getting either job, but it made me wonder, can it reflect poorly on me to ask a question the interviewer is unable to answer?

It probably won't reflect poorly on you, although I suppose it's possible.

You want to try and tailor your questions to the role of the interviewer. For example, if these interviewers were HR reps, they may not necessarily know or understand the technology base. That's not unexpected, since it's not generally part of their role.

It's unlikely that it would be problematic though, unless they thought you didn't understand their role or that you were trying to "show off" or criticize them. That's not something I'd worry about.

Is it possible that they removed me from consideration because they didn't want to document that I asked a question they couldn't answer because it would reflect poorly on them?

It is possible but extremely unlikely.

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    In general asking about the tech you will use reflects well on you. It shows you are interested and engaged and have thought about the job, rather than just thinking "oh well, it's a job, whatever". – DaveG Aug 13 '18 at 18:15
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As Joe Strazzere mentions in his answer, the first recruiter you get to talk to is usually not the technical guy. Especially if the first round is a phone interview, I would expect some HR worker to do that first screening. So indeed you might not get all answers then, even the trivial ones. And I fully agree with him on the answer.

I would like to add though that the important thing is that you get an answer to these question at some point in the process. The fact that the job description is so vague is already a bit worrying to me, not being able to get such a basic answer in the whole process would be more than worrying. As far as I'm concerned that would be a big no-go as I've been there, and that's the best way to get a job for which you're not a good fit, and vice-versa.

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    I agree that lack of an answer (or a vague one) could be a warning sign... even if the interviewers were "non techies", ideally they should be able to at least list the technologies used; at worst, reply that a later "techie" interview would cover that ground. Anything else (vague, evasive) might be a sign either they (the company) don't know what they're doing, or don't want to tell you you'll be using some obsolete technology. – TripeHound Aug 14 '18 at 11:08
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I think not knowing the answer to a question related to one's field of work is always more or less unpleasent for said person. Yes, it might happen, that some interviewers could hold this against you when considering who is a good match for their company.

You basicly have two options in this case - keep asking in depth questions, or stop asking in depth questions.

Stopping to ask in depth questions which are completely reasonable to make an informed decision about your possible future workplace would not be a good choice. Also, how is the company able to select a fitting employee without knowing what he will be working on more or less concretely? It is, for instance, very hard to imagine a vacancy for a software developer without any information on what programming languages, tools and experiences are required and in turn, what technologies the company is working with.

The only case, where you could refrain from asking those questions, would be, if the interview process would consist of multiple steps. In this case it is likely that you would have a second interview and someone from your pontential department would be present.

If this is not the case, the only option left would be to ask the HR person to find out about the used technologies and mail those information to you within the next days. Explain to him in a professional way, that those information are very relevant for your decision.

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