Unfortunately, a job interview can be a minefield of things you shouldn’t say. One wrong word can truly make a bad impression and sink your candidacy.
When preparing for an interview, it’s good to know what words hiring managers tend to see as red flags. Below is a short list of terms you’ll want to avoid – if you truly want to get the job.
“That Boss was a Nightmare”
You should avoid speaking negatively about anyone from your professional past, especially a past boss. Even if a previous supervisor bullied and harassed employees, it’s hard to convey that in a job interview without raising suspicions that you were actually the problem. In this situation, it’s best to take the high road and say you needed to move on.
“I Don’t Know Much About That…”
In trying to be upfront and honest with a potential employer, it’s easy to admit to not knowing something here and there. Unfortunately, when you admit to having a gap in your knowledge, you’re basically saying that you’re not an ideal candidate, even when that might not be the case. Rather than drawing attention to a shortcoming, concentrate on the positives. When asked about something you don’t know much about, pivot to your transferable abilities, such as your passion, enthusiasm and ability to adapt.
“I Actually Have a Good Answer for That”
When you walk into an interview prepared to reel off answer after rehearsed answer, you will probably have a very difficult time having an authentic discussion with your interviewer and hiring managers don’t tend to like candidates who avoid a real conversation. Of course, you should walk in prepared, but emphasize actual conversation, not rehearsed responses.
“Perfectionism/ Working Too Hard/ Etc. Is My Greatest Weakness”
Because this is one of the most common interview questions, almost every candidate walks into an interview with a rehearsed answer, and some people try to cleverly humble-brag their way through it. The thing is – hiring managers hear these “clever” answers all the time.
Instead, give a genuine response that highlights an area where you’d like to improve, and go on to talk about what you’re doing to address that weakness.
“I’m Always Trying to Think Outside the Box”
There’s nothing more inside the box than saying “outside the box” and using clichés in an interview is a bad strategy. Instead of clichés, focus on telling compelling stories that convey your abilities.
“How Much Vacation/ Pay/ Potential for Promotion Does this Position Have?”
An interviewer wants to talk about your potential fit for the open position. While compensation and paid time off are a part of that discussion, bringing up these subjects upfront will make you seem superficial and self-interested.
If you have any dealbreakers regarding compensation, make sure you hash them out before you sit down for an interview.
We Can Help You with Your Next Interview
At NSC, we help our candidates all the way through the application process, including the interview stage. Please contact us today to find out how we can help with your next interview.