10 Things To Never Say In An Interview

10 Things To Never Say In An Interview

The achievement of winning an interview for a new job is a positive step in your job search. But what you say, or how you say it in the interview, may make you never get an offer simply because you used a couple of wrong words that give the interviewer doubts about your faithfulness.

Perhaps the most crucial job-seeking step is the interview itself. It’s when you can make your first favorable impression and set a tone for what could be a long and meaningful (or unhappy) term of employment. What you say can inspire confidence in you and what you can contribute or sow seeds of doubt in your interviewer’s mind. Careful word choice and preparation are critical.

1. Negative Comments About Past Employers or Colleagues

Disparaging remarks about previous jobs or co-workers are bad news: they make you seem vindictive, bitter, or challenging to work with.

Instead, graciously change the subject to the transferable positive skills and achievements you gained: ‘I learned how to deal effectively with conflict, and those are skills I can use in my professional life.’ Speak about your progression into more natural roles that allow you to play to your strengths and interests.

2. “I Don’t Know”

To repeatedly say ‘I don’t know’ implies you didn’t prepare enough – or know sufficient – to answer the question.

Discuss areas you don’t know much about delicately – for example, ‘Sorry, but I have no experience with that particular software, but I’m a quick study. For instance…’ Then segue into your demonstrated ability to learn on the fly.

3. “What Does Your Company Do?”

To be incurious about the company, its business, and its products is a surefire way to be seen as ill-prepared and uninterested. Before attending an interview, one of your critical jobs is to check out the employer.

Do your homework in advance by consulting the company’s website and other sources, such as news articles or LinkedIn, so that you can ask intelligent questions relevant to things happening.

4. “I Don’t Have Any Weaknesses”

With all his attributes, we want someone we can grow, whether technically, through soft skills, or how he thinks. So, it sounds deluded to claim that you have no weaknesses. It says you are blind to yourself and not on naturally high ground.

It is better to broadcast a growth-oriented, professional weakness than the essential traits of your personality. Discuss the proactive steps you have taken to address this area, too.

5. “How Much Does This Job Pay?”

Asking about salary at the start of the interviewing process indicates that you’re more interested in making money than in the organization or the role.

Leave it to the interviewer to raise the issue of pay later in the process if it seems appropriate. If asked directly at an early point in the interview, do so, reiterating that interest in the opportunity itself is paramount (that is, that pay is secondary due to details relating to skills, values, and potential growth as an individual).

6. Cliché Responses

Determining your potential new hire’s character by nothing more than platitudes and blanket statements will weaken your answers considerably; for example, having an ‘excellent team player’ exists in a vacuum when you could have fleshed it out by listing an example that demonstrates teamwork well.

Compile talking points based on the pre-approved stance early; cite statistics, achievements, compliance with internal policy, awards, and other concrete proofs from your résumé. Quantify your experience as much as possible.

7. “No, I Don’t Have Any Questions”

Ask intelligent questions about the department, the team, who is working on what projects, and what skills will help you perform well in that role or the career path; asking no questions makes you seem lazy rather than curious.

Pre-form some questions that acknowledge the employer’s top concerns and how the job might help address them. You’re further binding yourself to the tidal wave.

8. Overly Personal Information

Little bits of personal stuff can help establish rapport and likeability ­– but divulging the details of your anguish, struggles, and private traumas in a professional context is unwise. Keep responses relevant to your background, skills, experience, accomplishment record, and what you can deliver.

Responding to an innocent question, such as whether you’re married or have children, give short answers, then redirect back to the shared experience, degrees, certifications, and other qualifications relevant to this inquiry. That’s deflecting to demonstrating the professional.

9. “I’ll Do Anything”

Insistence on indiscriminate ‘flexibility’ is about being desperate for work, not being a ‘team player.’ Savvy hiring managers will read this as a sign of someone who lacks standards or cannot make good judgment calls.

Avoid emphasizing stress; focus on flexibility and scope instead: ‘I have experience in financial analysis, but I’m flexible and would learn valuable skills, such as advanced Excel reporting, to contribute in new ways.

10. Slang, Jargon, or Overly Casual Language

Eschew colloquial verbal tags, lazy or trite expressions of the moment (words such as like or uh), initialism (or acronyms used before spelling them out, such as ICYMI, meaning in case you missed it), and non-standard grammatical construction or usages. Offer the best you can deliver – smooth, professional-sounding speech patterns, with fluency and authenticity as the only criteria and no cash value.

Mirror the interviewer’s style in the beginning, but be completely genuine. As you develop rapport, a slight or modest level of relaxation from formality might occur, but let them bring that comfort. It’s better to err on the side of a formality than inappropriately relax until you clearly understand the organization’s culture.

Case Study: Maya’s Interview Confidence Turnaround

Despite her solid work experience, Maya was struggling to shine. Subsequently, she had been doing poorly in job interviews because she hadn’t thought about the preparation practices she could master to dazzle hiring managers.

And so she read up on joint interview fails and how to stumble herself into their grasp: tips that, among other things, included the edifying gems above. She listened to podcasts where career coaches discussed how to talk about previous positions ending without sounding like a candidate exiting stage left and how to showcase the transferrable skills from one job to another.

Maya began assembling mini-anecdotes of her previous roles – showcasing a problem solved, a measurement improved, a procedure continued, a massive contribution made – short stories, each colorful and welcome. She quantified where she was able. Next, Maya took the time to research each potential target company to which she would be sending this bio, from recent press releases to leader biographies.

Equipped with ample research, her following two interviews went considerably better than the first: she answered a gambit of questions with ease, optimism, and authority. And she got positive feedback from the interviewers. In the weeks that followed, she had received two fantastic job offers! Maya thought her improved interview performance was connected to her increased interview confidence that resulted from her research and self-examination.

Key Takeaways

  • Research the company thoroughly before interviewing and prepare well-informed questions.
  • Quantify achievements from your work history with metrics and specific examples.
  • Frame past job transitions or weaknesses constructively.
  • Ask engaging questions demonstrating interest.
  • Maintain professional decorum, including speech, wardrobe, and boundaries.


To succeed in the interview, you must stay aware of your verbal and nonverbal communicative cues in every interaction with the interviewer – what you say and do not say. You must shape your responses to best embody your fit with the company’s goals and culture.

If you’ve prepared and rehearsed the types of responses likely to come up, you can let these pitfalls roll right off your back. Instead, use every interview as a chance to show your enthusiasm, aptitude, and fit. Hopefully, now that the pitfalls have been identified and some valuable remedies have been suggested, you can formulate a plan for your following interview. Should the nerves ever return, remember how well-prepared you are.