Top 10 Things NOT to Say in an Interview
With so many people struggling to get jobs, interviews are becoming even more competitive. This makes learning how to make a good first impression vital for anyone who's made it this far in the employment process. Unfortunately, there are a number of common statements that don't just hurt your chances of getting the job; they can actually shoot you down completely. Here's a look at some of the things you should never say to a prospective employer.
1. “I'm sorry to be late.” - Never put yourself in a situation where you'll be late to an interview. Your employer wants you to be on time every day. Showing up late, even when it's not your fault, can destroy your chances for getting the job. Make sure that you have plenty of time to be early before any interview situation, even if you think getting there will be easy.
2. “I think I'll enjoy the perks, pay rate, breaks and social opportunities.” - If your interviewer asks you what you think you'll like about the job, never answer with any of these responses. While you may get the most out of the job setting instead of the work, telling your interviewer this makes you look like you're not serious about the work. Even if you have to think about it, make sure you mention something enjoyable about your prospective duties, not the side benefits.
3. “I'm not really into the uniform.” - If you're interviewing somewhere with a dress code, standard uniform, or similar requirements, don't allow yourself to criticize them. While no one really enjoys wearing a uniform, something as simple as criticizing the colors could make you seem like you're not a team player. If you don't have something nice to say, just stay quiet.
4. “You look great.” - While complimenting the interviewer might seem like a good idea, focusing those compliments on the other person's appearance can be a bad choice. Basing your remarks on appearance makes you look shallow and unserious. If you're of the opposite sex, it can also be interpreted as condescension or harassment. If you'd really like to compliment your interviewer, do a little research about that person, then mention that you enjoyed one of his or her past accomplishments. It shows that you are willing to learn about the company and that you pay attention to more than just looks.
5. “My last boss was really unfair.” - Talking about your ex on a first date is a quick way to sink it, and so is saying something bad about your last job at an interview. As much as it might feel like this is a way to build up your prospective employer compared to the previous one, it has a strong chance of backfiring. You may look resentful and like a bad worker. If you show strong emotion, especially tears or obvious stress, you might even seem to be too unstable for the job. Avoid the negative whenever possible.
6. “This season is really bad for my allergies.” - Mentioning your health, unless it's directly relevant to a resume gap or your job, can be a very bad idea. By focusing on your health, asking about sick leave and benefits, or mentioning how bad you feel, you risk looking like an opportunist and an unreliable worker. Employers are looking for someone who will show up as often as possible and who won't unexpectedly rely on benefits. If you must talk about an illness or injury, keep it brief and professional. Make sure you mention that the problem won't cause trouble at the job and avoid dwelling on specifics that might weaken professional boundaries between you and the interviewer.
7. “I'm your most qualified candidate.” - While confidence is a good selling point, it's possible to take it too far. By insisting that you'll be the best choice for the job, you're displaying ignorance and even arrogance. After all, you haven't seen the rest of the candidate pool. Avoid hyperbole and stick to mentioning the specific, concrete characteristics that will make you a good hire.
8. “Just what do you do here?” - Interviewers expect you to know about the job you want before you get to the interview stage. Taking some time to research the company and learn the basics about the position is no longer optional. You must show initiative and interest in order to make a good impression. Failure to do this research will imply that you're unmotivated or lazy. Since employers are looking for the opposite characteristics, failure to learn about the company could sink your prospects right away.
9. “I'm a real perfectionist.” - This can damage your chances even if it's true. Stating that you work a little too hard, that you focus on perfection, or that you're just too good at your job can make you look like you're willing to say anything in order to get the job. Even if you really do suffer from perfectionism, avoid focusing on it during the interview; this response is too common for interviewers to take seriously.
10. “I don't really have any weaknesses.” - No one wants to admit potential problems in an interview, but refusing to admit weakness could be a bad choice. When an interviewer asks you about your strengths and weaknesses, he or she wants to know how you view yourself as a worker. Being unable to answer this question can make you seem like an egotist. It also makes you look unprepared, since this is one of the most common interview questions in the book.