We’ve already shared our advice for making the best first impression, but what should you NEVER say at an interview? Here are the top 10 instant fails for our clients…
Sorry I’m Late
If this is the first thing out of your mouth at an interview, then you might as well turn around and go home now. Look at it from the hirer’s point of view: if you can’t be bothered to be on time when you want to impress, what’s your time-keeping going to be like after you’ve got the job?
What Does The Company Do?
If you don’t know what the company does, then you don’t really want to work there. You just want a job. Any job. And nobody will hire anybody that wants just any job.
Not only will researching the company make you feel more confident going into the interview, but it also shows the recruiter that you’ve taken the time to understand the business – and where you could add benefit.
How Much Time Off Will I Get?
If you ask about holiday allowance or sick leave at an interview, all your interviewer will hear is that you can’t wait to not be at work – before you’re even at work. Next!
I Hate My Job
There will always be things about any job that you dislike; that’s why it’s called work. If they hear you making another company sound bad, then a hiring manager will also hear your voice speaking about their company in the future. You might have the worst job in the world, but this is not the time to dwell on negatives. Instead, try to highlight the ways that your experience or performance qualify you for the role you’re being interviewed for.
A potty mouth is never a good idea in an interview. The interviewer might swear like a trooper, but joining in will always make you seem less professional – and that’s the last thing you want when you’re keen on landing the role. Save it for when you know them better – after you get the job!
That’s My Phone…
…Do you mind if I take this? Yes. Yes they will. You need to give your interview your full attention and allowing it to be interrupted by your mobile sends out the message that this role isn’t a priority for you. If you don’t want to turn your phone off, at least put it on silent and check for messages or missed calls after you leave.
Anything Using Letters Instead Of Words
In other words, avoid jargon. You might be surprised how different the terminology may be at your new employer compared to your present role, and instead of sounding knowledgeable, you run the risk of sounding daft. It’s always better to speak in a way that is easy to understand and avoids any confusion.
Weaknesses? I Don’t Have Any!
This is a red flag that says you not only lack self-awareness, but also that you’re likely to be unable to accept constructive criticism. Barely an improvement is to say that you’re too much of a perfectionist – pass the sick bucket – but a great answer is to directly address any concerns the hiring company might have about your suitability; backed up by what steps you’re taking to address it.
I Want Your Job
Even worse than the arrogance of claiming to not have any weaknesses, this is threatening your potential boss. When they ask you where you see yourself in five years, don’t put yourself in their seat – after all, where would that mean they would be? Instead, express an interest in progressing your career and taking on more responsibility.
No, I Don’t Have Any Questions
In other words, I haven’t thought about the job enough to imagine myself doing it. I’m just not that bothered. The most successful applicants will go into any interview armed with half-a-dozen questions that show they’ve researched the role, the company and what their life might look like doing the job.
Even if your every question has been answered, then there are some handy ‘bucket list’ questions to have tucked up your sleeve:
How would my performance be evaluated?
- What’s the first job you’d want me to tackle on day one?
- What are the main challenges you think I’d face in this role?
- What support would you offer to help me get better at my job?
- What new products or services does the company plan to introduce?
We Can Help You Avoid The Interview Pitfalls
Whether you’re an interview pro or a total noob, there’s always room to improve! We can help improve your skills from Interview 101 to expert masterclasses, whatever stage your career journey is at.