What Not to Say in an Interview

In general, most people know the basic rules for conducting a good interview such as dress appropriately, be punctual, sit up straight, be confident and focus on your expertise. However, what about what not to say? You may have a brilliant interview and say one major no-no which blows your chances.

Many candidates get nervous at the thought of going for a job interview. To relax the tension, remember that during a first meeting, the interviewer is essentially looking for 3 main things:

• Are you able and qualified to do the job.
• Do you fit in with the current corporate culture.
• Are you willing to comply with the existing corporate goals and objectives.

So now you know what the interviewer is looking for and have prepared some potential interview answers, you need to think about what not to say. There are likely to be many more, but here are 6 things you should not say in an interview.

6 Things Not to Say in a Job Interview

1. Negative comments about your previous employers and colleagues

Bad mouthing and criticising a previous employer, indicates to the interviewer that you will do the same about them if you get the job and eventually leave. This makes you sound like a potential management problem and just bad news in general. If you disliked your previous employers, do not dwell on this and keep it short. Don’t make it personal and suggest you had different work philosophies.

2. Ask what the company does

This may seem obvious yet many candidates go into interviews without doing any research on the company and its activities. This means the meeting will be a waste of time for both sides. It may also indicate that you think you are so great that you don’t need to do any homework as they are the ones who are lucky to have you. Not a good move.

3. Discuss salary and make demands

Avoid asking about salary at initial stages. Employers may like confident candidates but this makes it sound like all you are interested in is money rather than the company or your own personal development. You should let your prospective employer initiate this type of discussion. Asking about holidays and time off in a first meeting also suggests that you are more interested in your personal time than doing a good job.

4. Use slang or profanity

You may feel comfortable with your interviewer, which is a good thing, yet it is not a casual conversation that you have down at the pub. It is a formal discussion and using slang just makes it overly casual and the interviewer will not take you seriously. Profanity goes without saying. Never curse or use profanity in any job interview.

5. Complain

Nagging and whining is not a pleasant thing to have to endure. Leave your personal problems and issues at home. You want to present yourself as a professional and strong credible candidate who is calm and collected when faced with difficult situations.

6. Show you are distracted

The interview is your chance to shine and show that you are committed, so stay focused. Taking a personal call half way through for example, even if you excuse yourself, is disrespectful. It also indicates that you have other priorities and more important things to attend to. The interviewer is giving you their time so extend the same courtesy.

What interview blunders have you suffered, either as an interviewee or interviewer?

CNN refers to weird things that were said in real life interviews. It will keep you entertained for a couple of minutes.

Image by Flickr user bpsusf.

217 Responses to “What Not to Say in an Interview”

  1. Occupational Therapy says:

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

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