Job interviews are nerve-wracking ordeals. When you’re a jumble of tension and high hopes (like interviewees typically are), it’s easy to say the wrong thing. And while most recruiters aren’t expecting perfection, there are some things you should never ever say in a job interview. Here are just some of the no-no’s you should stay away from.
“Ugh, my old boss was so toxic…”
Yes, toxic bosses and workplaces do exist, but talking trash about your last workplace won’t get you anywhere. As a rule of thumb, refrain from saying anything negative about your previous jobs during an interview. Why? This basically communicates to your interviewer that you might say the same thing about their company in the future.
What you can say instead: So when talking about former employers, focus on the positive. There may have been conflicts, but how did you work through them? What did you learn?
“What does your company do?”
Why are you even applying to a company you know nothing about? Google is free. If you’re asking basic questions about the company, that only shows that you didn’t put in the time to do even a quick search to prepare. Doing your research will result in a deeper interview, and will show the interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the role you’re interviewing for.
What you can say instead: If the company’s website is unclear or there simply isn’t much you can find on the internet, then perhaps you can ask questions about the specifics, such as “Who is your target market?” “What’s your brand identity?” It’s also a good idea to ask questions about the role you’re applying for so you can get a sense of their expectations.
“I’ve moved jobs a lot because I just haven’t found the right fit”
Gone are the days when people were expected to stay with a single company for decades. Nowadays, it’s pretty normal to have people move from one job to another after just a few years. But if you’ve consistently been spending less than a year at any given job before jumping ship, you should have a better explanation than “I haven’t found the right fit”. This just indicates that you still don’t have a sense of what you’re looking for, so what’s keeping the interviewer from thinking that you won’t stick around?
What you can say instead: In cases like this, it’s best to be transparent. Were you laid off? Did you simply pursue a better opportunity? (But do note that recruiters may look negatively at job-hoppers who keep leaving for more money or a shiny new title.) It’s also a good idea to provide references. This shows that even though you may have spent only a brief period of time at a company, you were an asset.
“I’m good with any task”
You might think that saying this may show that you’re enthusiastic and a team player, but you’re actually telling your interviewer that you don’t really care what the job is. If the job is worthwhile, then the recruiter would be looking for someone who’s actually passionate about the role.
What you should say instead: Instead of applying to practically every single job that you’re remotely qualified for, look for jobs that you’re actually interested in. This way, you’ll naturally be able to explain why you think the role is right for you.
“My weakness is I work too hard”
This is a cliche question, but that doesn’t mean that you should reply with a cliche answer. Even if it’s true, will the recruiter believe you? This question gives you the opportunity to show the interviewer that you’re aware of your weaknesses and are working to overcome them.
What you should stay instead: Instead of rattling off a generic response, you can talk about what you learned from your previous job. Did you encounter any problems? How did you resolve them? What did this teach you about yourself?
“It’s on my resume”
We get it — when you’re on a job hunt, having to explain your resume again and again gets old quickly. But if the recruiter’s asking about information that’s on your resume, they may be looking for more information, or just get a better sense of how you communicate.
What you should say instead: Give details other than what’s written on your resume. You could go into actual examples that illustrate how you’re qualified for the job, so take this as an opportunity to flex!
“How many vacation days do I get?”
Yes, you should know your worth and not settle for less, but your interview isn’t the time to ask bout the pay and the benefits. Save that for the job offer.
What to say instead: Instead, you can ask about the company culture. What’s the work-life balance like? What’s the management style like? Is the company process- or results-oriented? This lets the interviewer know that you’re interested in the company without looking presumptuous.
“I don’t have any questions”
Even though you feel like the interviewer has gone through the specific details that you’re interested in, always make sure to have some questions ready to demonstrate how invested you are in the role.
What you can say instead: Not sure what to ask? Check out these questions to ask at an interview: