You’re the ideal employee, but slipping up in your job interview means you’ll never get the chance to prove it. Without knowing it, you may be making some major interview mistakes. Here are five statements you should avoid ever saying in a job interview, as well as what you can say instead.
1 – “I’m hoping this job will help me get to my dream career.”
You will automatically be written off as a possible hire if the employer suspects that you’re only using this job as a stepping stone to a better one. They would rather have an employee who’s sticking around for the long haul.
Even if you do intend to quickly move to another job, never bring it up in an interview. Instead, state that you’re excited about how well this opportunity lines up with what you want in a career, and explain that you’re looking forward to sharpening your skills related to the field.
2 – “My last job was the worst.”
A hiring manager has no way of knowing that your past workplace was toxic, so if you share negative opinions on past jobs, it’ll only reflect poorly on you. In fact, they may think that, if hired, you’ll eventually come to talk poorly about their company, and for them, it’s a better idea to avoid the potential for workplace drama than to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Likewise, don’t talk poorly of any of the people you used to work with, either, even if your complaints are valid. “Don’t blame things on your former boss or co-workers,” Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, advises. “Avoid saying anything negative about a boss or former co-worker at all, even if you have the grounds to. Always talk about the positive.”
You don’t have to outright lie if you’ve had bad job experiences, but as Christie says, only focus on the benefits and highlights of your past jobs. The hiring manager will be impressed with your enthusiastic nature.
3 – “My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist/I work too hard/etc.”
When asked what your biggest weakness is, never state anything that will paint you in a generic light. Employers will feel as though you aren’t taking the interview seriously and, when weighing their options after the interviews, won’t have a genuine answer from you to compare to other potential applicants.
With this question, employers are trying to figure out if you actively try to improve yourself when you identify a weakness. So, say a genuine weakness of yours, but explain what you’re doing to fix it – for instance, “I’m not advanced in graphic design, which I know this position requires, but I’ve been taking a class and practicing using Photoshop in my spare time to improve.”
4 – “I know I don’t have a lot of experience, but…”
Everyone will have to apply to a job they aren’t perfectly qualified for at some point, but never point any attention towards this. it won’t make you look any better for owning up to it; instead, focus on what you do have.
“Instead of pointing out your lack of experience, highlight your passion and ability to do the job,” says Christie. Never outright say that you lack experience; discuss your skills in the areas of the job that you are familiar with, as well as transferable skills, and express your dedication to strengthening other skills.
5 – “No, I don’t have any questions.”
At the end of an interview, when the hiring manager asks if you have any questions, you absolutely need to have at least one – this proves your interest in the position is genuine, and allows you to showcase the research you’ve done on the company.
Use two or three quick questions to uncover more specifics about what your potential employers want of you, or what the company is really like. Consider questions like:
• What has your time been like at this company?
• What would success look like in this position?
• What is the office culture like here?
Finally, keep in mind that job interviews are about more than what you have to say – make sure enthusiasm shines through the entire interview.
“Sometimes, I feel like I’m pulling teeth to get any excitement, as much as I wanted them to really work out. It’s always disappointing to see,” says Christie, about her own experience as a hiring manager, “So, even if you’re shy or nervous, please smile and show some energy!”
Bring these tips and a positive energy to any upcoming interviews, and you’ll be sure to impress with your true potential!
Still need more tips on how to achieve your dream job? Book a Virtual Career Meeting with Christie!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock