'Is This Normal?': Job Recruiter Ripped for 'Conservative' Interview Advice

Commenters were quick to offer advice to one prospective employee after they shared an email they received from a job recruiter in a popular internet forum.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/antiwork, Redditor u/bravadough (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) included a screenshot of the email and asked the subreddit's 1.9 million members a simple question.

Titled, "Is this normal?" the post has received more than 8,100 votes and close to 1,700 comments in the last nine hours.

Beginning with the stern message: "Be conservative," the email received by the original poster asserts that job candidates should never ask questions about the particulars of a position until an offer of employment is issued.

"Refrain from asking questions that may reflect negatively on you," the email reads. "When interviewing for a position you should be focused on impressing upon your interviewer that you are a professional, qualified and capable candidate for their opening."

"In an interview you should be focused on confirming you have the skills and experience for the job," it continues. "Always refrain from asking questions involving work hours, travel, salary and benefits, flex hours, working remotely, or anything else that may be taken the wrong way."

"These types of questions can be interpreted negatively and could jeopardize an offer," the email concludes.

Job interviews, though daunting and sometimes interrogation-like, are meant to be two-sided conversations.

While the main purpose of a job interview is for an employer to determine whether a candidate is a proper fit for their company, it is equally important for prospective employees to determine if a company is a proper fit for them.

By asking questions during an interview, candidates can gauge how a position will affect them, both professionally and personally.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), billed as the "foremost expert" on today's evolving workplaces, recommends that candidates ask a myriad of questions throughout an interview to understand all aspects of a prospective employer.

From questions like "Why is this position available?" and "When was the last time someone in this position was promoted?" to "How does this company approach work/life balance?" and "How are salary levels or ranges determined for remote workers, and is salary different for employees who work in the office?" SHRM maintains that questions pertaining to both work and life are imperative in fully grasping a company's structure and a candidate's potential fit within it.

Advising interviewees to refrain from inquiring about work hours, salary and benefits, remote work and other important topics, however, is not recommended and plays directly into multiple workers' rights movements which have been bubbling for the last year.

Since April 2021, the United States has seen more employees quit their jobs than at any point in the country's history. Since October 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that more than 4 million employees have quit their jobs each month, as part of a mass-quitting movement called the Great Resignation.

The most recent data published by the BLS revealed that, in March 2022, 4.5 million American workers quit their jobs, matching November 2021 as the highest level of quits since the bureau began collecting separation data in 2000.

Job interview advice from recruiter
Members of Reddit's r/antiwork forum came together to advise one poster after they shared a screenshot they received from a job recruiter. fizkes/iStock / Getty Images Plus

In January, MIT Sloan Management Review attributed a majority of quits to toxic workplace cultures, fraught with unethical behavior, disrespected employees and a lack of inclusion, equity and diversity.

Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post shared by u/bravadough, Redditors were adamant that any instruction by a job, or job recruiter, to not ask questions during an interview could be indicative of this type of toxicity.

"The simple fact is, if the salary, benefits etc were actually good, they would be shouting them from the rooftops and using that as a way to draw candidates in," Redditor u/SellusGravius wrote in a comment which has received more than 1,500 comments.

"The fact that they specifically said not to ask about it pretty much guarantees it is garbage," they added.

In a separate comment, which has received more than 1,300 votes, Redditor u/thestateofkate echoed that sentiment.

"Big red flag," they wrote. "If they don't want you to ask about those things, it's because you wouldn't like the answers."

"These are bad practices," Redditor u/c00750ny3h added. "You SHOULD ask meaningful questions."

Redditor u/HazelMStone, whose comment has received more than 4,100 votes, noted that the r/antiwork subreddit was established to combat messages exactly like the one received by the original poster.

"This sub is a direct response to this type of toxicity," they wrote in the post's top comment.

Newsweek reached out to u/bravadough for comment.