I had an on-site interview with a software company, which included 4 interviews, lunch and a meeting with the manager.

After the meeting with the manager, he was walking me out and I asked "so did I get the job" even though I know he could not tell me (I have no idea why I asked).

Things got awkward for a second and he said can't tell me now for legal reasons.

Did I ask something that was really taboo/inappropriate?

I don't think it'll prevent me from getting the job, but it seems like it wasn't a good look (he might've thought I was impatient or didn't understand boundaries).


Honestly, it depends very much on the rapport you have built with the interviewing panel. I have done this once when they asked me if I had any questions at the end of the interview. I said it with a smile, so they knew I was only joking. To my surprise, the lead interviewer answered wryly, "Yes, but I can't tell you that."

I can't say if it had or hasn't hurt your chances on this job. I suspect not, but without being present it is difficult to gauge your manager's reaction.

Whether you do or don't get this particular job, there is nothing you can do about it now. Just learn to try to read the situation more carefully in future.

  • 1
    Ok. Thanks for the advice. We had like an hour conversation about work, what I'm looking for, company culture, etc. Everything but this seemed to go well. But based on what you and the other person said, I'll never ask that again (still confused as to why I asked it to begin with). There's not much to gain and I can basically only lose. If I lose the job because of this, then oh well.
    – David Ivan
    Nov 18 '18 at 22:25
  • I doubt that in many cases the interviewer would already know though? Isn't it only normal that the interviewer would look over all candidates once again, possibly discuss with future teammates and then make a decision?
    – Summer
    Nov 19 '18 at 10:28

Asking the question like that comes across as naïve:

  1. it makes you sound desperate;
  2. the interviewer should, in theory, wait until he/she has seen all the shortlisted candidates, even if he/she thinks you are the strongest candidate;
  3. even if the interviewer is certain that he/she wants to hire you, he/she may not be empowered to make the decision unilaterally.

These constitute "red flags", because they give the impression that you do not understand the basic realities of how the company operates.

Better to ask:

When can I expect to hear about the outcome?

This demonstrates clearly that you are interested in the job, but understand the rules of engagement. Of course, if you have other offers on the table, it may be worth hinting that you need a rapid response (NB: this can backfire, if the potential employer is not that desperate to hire you).

  • Yes! I've read "interview tips" articles online that recommend you "Ask for the job". Also, when recruiters are prepping me for interviews they always tell me to ask for the job at the end of the interview. It's garbage! I never do it, it sounds stupid. I express interest in the job if I'm interested and ask about the next steps. Never do I ask "Can I have the job?" or "Did I get the job?".
    – CrazyPaste
    Nov 20 '18 at 17:04

At the end of the interview process you have to go all in. Which doesn't mean begging for the job, but making your clearest possible manifestation of interest and motivation to get the job. Instead of "did I get the job", the more appropriate alternative would be something along the lines of:

"I am very thankful that ACME considered me for this role, I am impressed by the people I met and I am even more excited about working here than before my first interview. I can't wait to start, but I want to make sure I can manage my expectations: from 1 to 10, how likely do think I am to get this position?"

Phrased it this way, the bulk of the interaction comes from your eagerness and enthusiasm for the position, and that's what they will remember, even if they can't give you any straight reply.

Note that this will be only an indication: the interviewer/hiring manager might eventually be blocked in her/his decision by other factors, you never know the whole story. But if you want to specifically ask the main interviewer, that's what I recommend.

  • 4
    "At the end of the interview process you have to go all in." This is wrong. Obviously don't give the impression you are not interested, but there is no point going over the top - it just makes you seem desperate. Nov 19 '18 at 12:05
  • 3
    I'm not sure what a candidate would stand to gain from asking your "1 to 10" question. If your intent is to show interest in the job, that's implied by the fact that the candidate applied and came to the interview: They already know you want to work there! An employer is evaluating based on skills, experience, and overall fit - you don't hire people because they're eager, you hire people because they'll do a good job and add value. Eagerness is important, of course, but it's easy to express eagerness without asking an incredibly awkward question like you're suggesting.
    – dwizum
    Nov 19 '18 at 14:22
  • It feels like I struck a chord?
    – Monoandale
    Nov 19 '18 at 17:31

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