What Not to Say During an Interview

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Most of us get nervous or are reluctant to talk about ourselves in a professional capacity. There are several fine lines to toe, from coming across as overconfident or too timid, to sounding more or less experienced than you are and causing rifts with your new boss early on in your contract.

So it’s no surprise that job interviews tend to bring out either the best or the worst in applicants. That doesn’t mean it’s out of your control, though! While the conversation begins with your potential employer and anyone else sitting in on the interview itself, there are some topics and comments you can practice steering clear of to better prepare yourself. Because while it’s preferable that you’re open and honest during your interview, you don’t want to lay all your cards out on the table and risk offending the person who could be partially in charge of your workplace experiences in the near future.

“I don’t have any weaknesses.”

Besides being impossible, this claim often seems arrogant or short-sighted to employers. Chances are that if they’ve asked you for the interview, they’ve already reviewed your resume and other application materials, and therefore know where your strengths lie. Willingly owning up to your weaknesses shows an employer that you can admit when you don’t know something, but are open to learning more and improving from there.

“How much does this job pay?”

Yes, one of the main reasons any of us has a job is to earn a paycheck. However, it’s better to wait until a potential employer broaches the subject of money to discuss it. And in the event that he or she asks you what you expect to be paid, remember to be realistic. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your worth and making sure you earn a fair salary, but it’s important that you remember the bigger picture. The boss still has to pay everyone else, and pay is generally based on experience and expertise before anything else.

“I hate my current job.”

You don’t usually seek out a new job if you love the one you have, but that doesn’t give you free rein to blast it in your interview without some negative consequences. Potential employers might ask you why you want to leave your current job, and you should have an answer ready. Simply saying you don’t like it, or even your coworkers, isn’t enough to give the proper incentive to hire you. Instead, cite a need for professional growth, the desire to learn new skills, or some aspect of the interviewer’s company that appeals to you, but isn’t present where you currently work.

“How far can I go in your company from this job?”

Simply put, your professional trajectory is not solely up to your employer, or the company for which you work. Asking this in a job interview implies that you’re unsure of your own drive to progress, as well as a noncommittal attitude toward the company’s vision and goals unless they directly apply to you. Rather, you should ask about departments other than the one to which you’re applying. That way you get a comprehensive look at the company, and can file away that understanding for future role shifts and opportunities for promotion.

“No, I don’t have any questions for you.”

You should always go into a job interview with a few questions in mind. Even if those are answered during the conversation, you’re likely to have more once you’ve gotten a better idea of the position and the organization itself. So don’t be shy about asking for clarification! Potential employers will see that you’re invested in the job if you delve deeper into its parameters, and you’ll be better prepared to either accept or turn down the offer if it’s made.

Need some help prepping for your interview? Contact our expert coaches and get the pointers that might just be the turning point at your next job interview!


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