10 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Maddie Lloyd
by Maddie Lloyd
Get The Job, Guides - 9 months ago
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Job interviews are stressful. With all of the suffocating pressure to say all the right things, it’s easy to slip up and say something wrong. Just think of it like word vomit. Word vomit that could cost you a sweet job opportunity, even if you have all of the right qualifications. But hey, no pressure!

Here’s the deal:

During a job interview, everything you say matters. You want to make sure you’re focused on showing employers the best version of yourself and making a great impression, while making as few mistakes as possible.

With that in mind, here are the ten things you should never say during an interview if you want to land the job:

1. “So sorry I’m late!”

Being late is a guaranteed way to make a bad impression before you even meet your interviewer, and there’s little chance that you’ll be able to recover from such an impression. First impressions are a big deciding factor in whether a company hires someone or not, so you’re going to want yours to be a good one.

When you show up late for an interview, it shows that you have poor time management skills, and it shows that you don’t respect the company or the position. Yikes. Just be on time, or better yet, show up ten minutes early.

2. “Could you hold on for a second? I have to take this.”

Texting or answering calls during an interview basically tells employers that you don’t care about the job opportunity and you have no problem with wasting their time. Ouch. Not the best move to make when you’re trying to land a job.

Just put your dang phone away and turn it completely off. Your priority is to give the interviewer your full attention, so make sure your phone doesn’t make an appearance. We know it’s hard to separate ourselves from our beloved smartphones, but you’ll be reunited soon enough.

3. “My greatest weakness? Hm, if I had to pick, I’d say that I’m just a huge perfectionist.”

A classic interview mistake is to answer the greatest weakness question with a strength. Saying that you’re a perfectionist or a workaholic isn’t going to impress anyone. In fact, you’ll sound just like everyone else who didn’t get the job.

Everyone has a weakness. The trick is to show the interviewer that you’re taking the steps necessary to improve upon your weaknesses, not that you’re just a completely perfect person with no faults. No one is that perfect. Except Beyonce.

4. “So, what exactly do you guys do around here?”

If you don’t do some background research on the company before the interview, you might as well just not go at all. You never want to walk into the interview clueless about the company or the position. Plus, if you get the classic “What do you know about our company?interview question, you’ll be left to make up something on the spot, and that never turns out well.

You want to show employers that you took the time to research the company and learn as much as you could — it lets them know that you’re motivated and genuinely excited to work with the company. Check out their company website and read up on their “About Us” section, you’re likely to find everything you need.

5. “I know I don’t have much experience and I’m probably not the best fit, but…”

Don’t downplay your strengths! A job interview is not the time for you to be humble. On the other hand, it’s a time for you to sell yourself to employers on why you would be the perfect fit. Even if you don’t have all of the qualifications, that doesn’t mean you’re not the best person for the job.

Instead of drawing attention to your shortcomings, focus on the skills and experiences you do have, and how they can help you succeed in the position. Show the interviewer that you’re excited about the opportunity — a little enthusiasm can take you much further than just having a list of qualifications.

6. “How much vacation time do I get?”

You haven’t even gotten a job offer, and you’re already asking about when you can leave. Yikes! Asking questions about time off during an interview will make employers think that you don’t even want to be there.

During an interview, employers want to know what you can do to help their company succeed, not how they can meet a list of your demands. If you get a job offer, vacation time will come up in the conversation — but if you bring up vacation time during the interview, you’ll probably be getting a rejection letter instead.

7. “I’m a go-getter who thinks outside the box.”

Yawn! You might as well be saying “I’m a boring generic loser who has no imagination and can’t think for themselves.” Skip the lame buzzwords. What are you “go-getting” anyway?

If you want to impress employers by showing them that you’re creative and a hard worker, show them that with your stories. Use words like “achieved,” “developed,” “created,” or “organized.” Using generic buzzwords with nothing to back them up is essentially giving employers an empty promise.

And whatever you do, please, leave “synergy” out of the conversation.

8. “Well, jeez, I don’t know.”

If you answer an interview question with “I dunno,” you’re basically forfeiting the position to someone who can give basically any other answer.

Prepare ahead of time by practicing your answers to the most common interview questions. Even if you run into a question during the interview that stumps you, buy yourself some time by asking for a glass of water or just a minute to think. Anything is better than “I don’t know.”

9. “No, I don’t have any questions.”

Big mistake. Big! Huge! When the interview is coming to a close and you’re asked “So, do you have any questions for me?” you should always have a sturdy list of questions on hand for the interviewer. And never, no matter what, say “Nope! No questions here!”

Not having any questions basically tells employers that you don’t care about the company or the position enough to learn anything else about them. Having questions will also make your interview feel more like a conversation rather than a criminal interrogation.

10. “Do you have an idea of when we’ll be wrapping this up?”

Asking about when the interview will be over gives the impression that you have somewhere more important to be. Your interview should be your number one priority, so treat it as such. If an employer thinks that there’s somewhere else you’d rather be, you can expect the interview to be over pretty quickly, along with your chances of getting the job.

Now you know what not to say during an interview!

Your biggest goal during a job interview is to show employers why you’re the best person for the job. Remember to focus on showing them what you have to offer, how you can help their company, and that you’re motivated to work with their team.

Saying anything that could make employers think otherwise is a great way to get yourself removed from the hiring process. Let’s not let this happen.

Be confident, do your research, and make the interview your biggest priority, and you’re sure to say all the right things and land the job!