8 Things You Should Never, Ever Say on an Interview

By Truman Wosnak| March 14, 2017

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What Not to Say During a Job Interview

Before suiting up, here’s 8 things you should never, ever say on an interview.

Never, ever:

1. Speak badly about a previous company

No one wants a trash talker. “My boss was horrible.” Or “All I did was get coffee and wasted my time.” are statements that definitely will not make a great first impression when being asked about your previous position. The interviewer will wonder if you’ll talk about them the same way.

Even if it was a less-than ideal-situation, always talk about the positives. If it was challenging, note how you took that challenge and learned from it or turned it into something better.

What Not to Say During a Job Interview

2. Never say, “I’ll do anything!”

We know you’re an intern and you’re looking to fill your resume, but don’t make that apparent in your interview. Talk about your passions, what you’re good at, and new tasks you’d like to learn from. For example, “I’m really great at social media, but I’d also love to learn how to set up an email campaign.” Or, “I love doing research, and would love to contribute to the writing and follow up.”

It shows flexibility and willingness to support the team without being a “Jack of All Trades.”

If you look desperate, it will turn the interviewer off. It also makes you look flaky and like you don’t have clear goals or aspirations for your career.

3. Never say “Sorry”

Don’t apologize for anything in your interview – especially when it comes to having little experience. “I’m sorry I haven’t done that yet but…” You need to appear confident and ready to tackle a challenge.

Saying “sorry” makes you look weak.

Instead, position answers to tough questions as, “I have yet to do that, but I’m a quick learner and have been wanting to learn how to do that.” Come in to the interview with a can-do, roll-up-your-sleeves attitude, and you’ll score major points.

Read our 6 things to do to nail a spring internship

4. Never ask about sick days, vacation days or perks

If this is your first round in the interview process interview, you’re there to prove yourself and your talents.

Asking what’s in it for you shows an “all about me” attitude.

Hold the perks questions for later, for example, for your recruiter further down the process. What’s more, this question is more applicable for full-time employees, so this may be a moot point anyway.

5. Never say “No”

Usually at the end of the interview, the interviewee asks if you have any questions. If you say “Nope!” It may come off as you not caring about the position or the company. Even worse, it shows a lack of curiosity.

Come in with a couple of backup questions if you can’t think of any new ones on the spot – such as: “What will my day-to-day tasks look like?” , “What team members will I be working with?” “What’s your goal for this position in three months down the line?” Stay engaged and present from start to finish during your interview.

Never-say-I-Don't-Know-on-an-interview

6. Never forget your body language

Keep in mind your body language and eye contact. Sit up straight, look the interviewee in the eye while speaking, and don’t glance around the room or twiddle your thumbs. Body language speaks volumes, so appearing calm, confident and engaged will send a positive message.

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7. Never say “I don’t know”

Some interviewees can ask a long list of questions, and sometimes it’s hard to answer all of them, such as: “What was a time you had a challenging situation and how did you fix it?”

If nothing comes to mind, do you best and be honest (with a sense of humor), but always come up with an answer – don’t leave it blank.

Planning ahead with stories about how you solve problems will give you some verbal ammo. People remember stories more than facts.

Here’s our post on interview questions that can trip you up

8. Never be a cold fish

In-person interviews are conducted because people want to see how they connect with you and how you will fit into the company culture. Yes, it’s important to be professional, but show some personality!

Walk in with your hand out and say hello I’m Joe” while looking them right in the eye and smiling. Break the ice by asking the interviewee questions about the company culture, the weather, their family, etc. Avoid politics or anything controversial. Show that you’re a human being who’s fun to hang around.

Be yourself, show your personality and smile even though you’re nervous can be an ice-breaker.

Relax! You’re going to do just fine with practice, polish and confidence.

 

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