While it’s tempting to walk straight into an interview, it’s easy to make a mistake without preparing yourself first. No matter how confident you may feel as a job seeker, there’s always a chance you could say something during an interview that could cost you the job.
Job seekers not only should prepare examples of their experience for the interview, but also they should know what’s appropriate and inappropriate to say. Although you are concerned with finding a job to help you advance your career, it’s important to be prepared for the interview with examples that will highlight your skills for the position.
If you’re wondering what you can do to prevent your interview from going downhill, here are 10 things to avoid saying to the interviewer:
1. “My boss at ABC Company was awful.” Trash-talking your boss during an interview shows a lack of professionalism. Never bring up a past experience during your interview that would cause you to speak poorly about the person or job.
2. “How much do I get paid? What about vacation time?” Never ask about salary during the interview. This is a topic the interviewer will bring up at their discretion. Once the interviewer explains compensation and benefits, you may ask questions regarding the topic.
3. “Did you know I ran cross country in high school?” It’s really cool that you have hobbies and talents outside of your career, but make sure during the interview you only talk about experience and skills relevant to the position. Being an all-star runner is a great accomplishment; however, it wouldn’t relate to the accounting job you applied for. On the other hand, if the interviewer mentions they’re a runner or the position is with an athletic shoe company or something similar, it would be acceptable to share your experience to build a connection.
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4. “I’m sorry, but I’m really nervous!” The employer already knows candidates are nervous for their job interviews. If you fumble during your interview, don’t use nervousness as an excuse. Pick up from where you left off and speak with confidence.
5. “Man, I really need this job to pay off my credit card debt.” The employer realizes you are applying for the job because you are searching for employment. They don’t need to know exactly why you need the job or any personal details. It isn’t necessary to state how desperate you are for the position and you don’t need to say anything that would cause a red flag for the employer.
6. “I just need this job so I can fulfill my dream of being a CEO.” While you are concerned about advancing your career, it’s important not to tell the interviewer this position serves only as a stepping stone to better employment. Employers want to know how you can help their company – not how their company will benefit you.
7. “I need a flexible schedule to accommodate my in-home business.” First off, many employers aren’t supportive outside commitments that will distract from your work ethic. Employers expect you to be fully committed to their position.
8. “What does your company do again?” Always research the company before the interview. Make sure you know what the company values and if there are any awards they’ve received. The last thing you want to do is make yourself look unprepared for the interview.
9. “I’m sorry, I don’t remember what I did during that internship.” As the candidate, you also need to make sure you can explain the experience displayed on your resume. Interviewers will ask details about your internships and previous jobs. Be prepared to share accomplishments from each experience and how the skills you gained relate to the position.
10. “Wait, what position did I apply for?” Before you even apply for the job, make sure you understand what the description entails. During the interview, you will be expected to explain how your background relates to the position. If there were some details you were unclear about when you applied, bring a list of questions to the interview.
By avoiding these mistakes, you will already be ahead in the interview process. It’s easier than you think to make a mistake, but as long as you are confident and educate yourself about the position, you will increase your likelihood of landing the job.