Seven things you should never say in a job interview
You’ve practiced over and over again what to say in your job interview — but did you know that there are also things you absolutely shouldn’t say? Here’s a list of top things you should avoid saying:
- “I don’t like my job.” In most cases, the position you’re interviewing for will build on your current position and have a lot of similarities. And since a hiring manager is looking for candidates who are enthusiastic and engaged, saying this will definitely set you off on the wrong foot.
- “I use IDE to debug the source code for…” Unless the interviewer shares your area of expertise, his or her eyes are going to start glazing over when you start using jargon. Instead, explain what you do in a manner that non-experts can understand, too.
- “My current employer doesn’t have a good strategy.” You should never, ever say anything negative about any current or previous employer. It’s not only unprofessional; it also shows that you’re quick to judge situations you might not fully understand.
- “I have to take this call.” According to the article “10 things not to say in a job interview” in The Guardian, a lot of candidates think it’s okay to take a call or respond to a text or email. To be clear: This is never acceptable. Always give the interviewer your undivided attention. Those voicemails, text messages and emails will still be there when the interview is over.
- “I don’t know.” Although honesty is always the best policy, it’s best to avoid these three words. Take your time thinking about the answer. If you still can’t find a way to respond, try to find a different way to answer the question, for example by asking the interviewer to expand on the question so you get some more context.
- “I’m awesome at….” While it’s good to be confident, arrogance isn’t a trait that hiring managers are looking for. They want candidates who are competent and good team players.
- “No, I don’t have any questions for you.” As Lillian Childress points out in the Glassdoor article “11 Things to Never Say in a Job Interview,” the questions you ask are almost as important as the answers you give, since they demonstrate your interest in the position, the growth potential, the company’s mission, and so on.
As a rule of thumb, it’s wise to never say anything that might come across as negative, ignorant or arrogant during an interview. If you make sure that you can speak about your skills and experience, have done your homework on the company and the role, and are respectful and professional at all times, you stand a good chance on making the right impression on the hiring manager — and as a result, landing the job you want.