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TaysWhat NOT to say in a job interview

What NOT to say in a job interview

We all worry about what to say in a job interview, but often we completely neglect thinking about what NOT to say. Avoiding specific statements can really help you steer clear of losing precious points in the eyes of your interviewer.  

A job interview can really be a crucial aspect of your application process as through it the interviewer will be able to deduce whether or not you will be a great fit for the company and whether your skills or values align with theirs. It is why people always emphasize the importance of first impressions – they use the interactions they had with you during the interview to make inferences about your potential and capabilities. This is especially imperative in high-demand positions where there might be other applicants with similar qualifications and experience. 

Therefore, given the importance of job interviews and the highly competitive pool of potential candidates that come with them, we’ve decided to compile a list of the top 6 things you should NOT say in a job interview.

1. Mentioning negative notions about a previous employer or job 

Whether it’s a response to questions like “Why are you looking for a new job?” or “What didn’t you like about your previous positions?” providing answers to questions and situations like these in a manner that avoids saying anything negative about your previous employer or the job can show your ability to remain professional and positive regardless of the situation. You don’t want to appear resentful or incapable of handling conflict or working collaboratively with their staff. 

Positive answers and refutations can also give the interviewer confidence that you will be a stellar addition to their company’s culture and probably wouldn’t say anything negative about them in the future either. You can’t come off as hasty even when you are harboring negative emotions towards your old jobs or positions because they can be projected elsewhere. When answering questions about your previous employer, try to focus on things the position you are applying to has to offer that your previous employer wasn’t able to offer. Or highlight the reasons why the old position wasn’t a good fit and why this one is. 

2. “It’s on my resume”

Regardless of whether or not the answer to the interviewer’s question is written on your resume, you should always try to answer their questions in your own words and provide them with additional details. They are likely inquiring about a particular aspect of what was written, looking for further information, or wanting to test your knowledge. Try to respond by using specific examples that prove your experience or skills or explain how your qualifications are relevant to the position. Provide them with additional tidbits that you might not have gotten the chance to express in your limited resume of 1-2 pages. 

3. “I don’t have any questions.”

Claiming that you don’t have any questions might reflect disinterest which is an impression you should avoid completely. On the contrary, asking questions at the end of the interview provides you with the opportunity to show your interest. You can ask questions about their mission or vision statement or plan to achieve their SMART goals. This can also help you showcase the effort you have put into preparing for the interview. It is recommended that you also ask questions about anything the interviewer might have mentioned during the interview or ask them a question about their experience with the organization, such as: “What do you enjoy most about working at …?”

4. “I don’t know.”

Even if you come to the interview fully prepared, there is bound to be a question or two that stumps you. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be a worst-case scenario because it can be a great opportunity for you to prove your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In situations like these, you can restate the question and take a timely manner to answer, ask for a minute to think about your response, or  even ask for additional information to put together an accurate response. Whatever you do, don’t avoid questions or ask to skip any–it might seem as though you are apathetic and not invested. 

5. “I don’t have any weaknesses.”

A very typical interview question that is likely to be directed your way is “What’s a strength and weakness that you have?” You might think that stating a weakness will make you look “weak” in front of your interviewer. However, what’s even worse is denying that you have any weaknesses as this ends up showing your lack of self-awareness, and maybe even intolerance to criticism. The optimum way to handle this question is to truthfully state a weakness of yours but also emphasize how you are efficiently working on handling this weakness in a way that would not stall your work quality or productivity.

6. Don’t use profanities.

Even if your interviewer is taking the friendly route and making you feel comfortable and relaxed, don’t take this for granted and start treating this interview as a conversation with a friend over drinks. As much as your daily dialogue with friends might include profanities that just always find a way to smoothly roll off your tongue, when it comes to an interview things are simply different. Using profanities is just a one way ticket to making yourself look unprofessional and negligent, unless you are Gordon Ramsay

So now that you know what NOT to say in a job interview, you can take it all one step further by clicking here to read our article on our top Tays tips on “how to dress for an interview.”

By: Salma Ahmed

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