9 Things You Should Never Say In A Job Interview
1. I'm really nervous. There's nothing wrong with feeling nervous. It's natural to be a little uneasy at an important interview. Don't tell the interviewer if you have butterflies in your stomach, though. Your job in the interview is to portray a confident and professional demeanor. You won't win any points by admitting your nerves or blaming them for any failures in your performance.
2. I don't really know much about the job; I thought you'd tell me all about it. This is a big job seeker mistake, and it can cost you the opportunity. Employers spend a lot of time interviewing, and they expect candidates to have researched the jobs enough to be able to explain why they want the positions. Otherwise, you could be wasting everyone's time by interviewing for a job you may not even really want. Asking questions is important, but don't ask anything you should know from the job description or from reading about the company online.
badmouth anyone, even if you have a bad boss. It is unprofessional and the employer will worry what you may say to someone about him or her down the road. Instead, think about ways to describe past work environments in terms of what you learned or accomplishments you're proud to discuss.
4. My biggest weakness is (something directly related to the job). "What's your weakness?" is one of the most dreaded interview questions. There's no perfect reply, but there is a reply you should never say: Never admit to a weakness that will affect your ability to get the job done. If the job description requires a lot of creativity, and you say your creativity has waned lately, assume that you've taken yourself out of the running. Choose a weakness not related to the position and explain how you're working to improve it.
5. @#$%! Granted, profanity seems to be much more accepted in many workplaces today. However, an interview is not the time to demonstrate that you can talk like a pirate.
6. Just a minute; I really need to get this call. It's amazing how many hiring managers and recruiters report that interviewees answer their phones and respond to text messages during in-person interviews. Turn off your phone during interviews and you will not be tempted to reach to answer it.
7. How much vacation time would I get? Never, ever ask questions in an interview that may make it appear that you'll be overly focused on anything other than work.
8. Can I work from home? Even if you're pretty sure the company has a lenient work-from-home policy, the interview isn't the best time to ask about it.
9. Family is the most important thing to me. This is true for many people. However, you do not need to explain how devoted you are to your family during your job interview. It is unlikely to win favor, even in organizations with a well-known family-friendly environment. You want your potential employer to envision you being totally devoted to his or her needs.
When in doubt, pause before you say what's on your mind. If you wonder if it's Ok to ask, assume it's better to avoid the topic altogether.
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Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Business Success, Social Networking for Career Success and 100 Conversations for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.