During a job interview you’ll be given the chance to learn any additional information when the interviewer inevitably asks “Do you have any questions for me?” Along with this, there will be opportunities for you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as other aspects of yourself and your work history. Today we’re going to talk about some things you should never say while on a job interview. Let’s begin.
“Tell me about the company.”
Kicking the list off is a major no-no. If you’ve read our previous advice on job search strategies, resume creation, and interview tactics, then you’d know we place special emphasis on researching each and every company you apply to. At the very least you should possess basic knowledge of the company and its offerings, which will get you through the interview, but you should take the time to go above and beyond.
Learn as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing for. From its workplace culture all the way to any issues the company is currently facing, you should seek to learn it all. If the interviewer or hiring manager get the impression that you haven’t read up on the company at all, they’ll see you as being uninterested and perhaps even lazy—not a good look.
“I don’t have any questions.”
You might be going on multiple interviews and feeling serious fatigue, or maybe you feel like you’ve nailed a particular interview and there’s nothing else to add when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. This is almost as bad as asking what the company does, as it will also demonstrate a lack of interest or drive to self-motivate.
There might be a situation where you’ve already received an offer but you’re going on another interview because it was previously scheduled and you haven’t accepted the offer yet. Here, you should still try to ask at least one good question because even if you decide to accept the other offer, you never know where you’ll end up later on in your career. It’s always important to walk out of any interview having left a good impression, regardless of the circumstances.
“How long does it take for [company name] to give raises or promote its employees?”
At first glance this might seem like a great question to ask during an interview, since there’s potential that you’ll be working with the company in the near future; however, this is best left for later on when you’ve put some time and effort into your work. Asking this question during an interview might suggest that you don’t feel that the company’s initial offering is good enough, or that you don’t take the role seriously.
“My weaknesses are actually my strengths.”
Making this statement or other variations such as “I don’t have any weaknesses” during an interview is a great way to ruin your chances, which is precisely what we don’t want. This one might seem obvious, but inquiring about your weaknesses is actually a tactic used by interviewers to gauge how you’ll react. The bottom line is, you’ll want to come up with at least one good response to this question.
Instead of declaring that you are entirely devoid of any weakness, think of some things you can honestly tell yourself you need to work on. This will show the interviewer that you’re self-aware, and that you strive to improve yourself and your work. The weaknesses question is one of those tricky interview questions, which we previously covered in a two-part blog.
“I didn’t like my previous boss.”
You should never talk about any previous employer or boss in a negative way while on an interview. If you do, you’re showing the interviewer that you’re less inclined to work well with others, or that you lack the ability to engage with and solve conflicts. Furthermore, it’s just plain unprofessional and more times than not, the interviewer will assume that you were the source of the problem.
“I need to put in time off for [month/date].”
It’s very possible that you have a prior engagement coming up around the same time as you’d be expected to start work, but it’s important to remember that you’re only still on an interview and there’s no guarantee you’ll be hired for the position. Requesting time off or even simply mentioning you’ll need time off will show the interviewer that you’re not interested in learning the job or the company’s culture. This conversation is best left for after you’ve been hired.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that you should never bring up your political or religious affiliations during an interview. It should go without saying, but any divisive or otherwise controversial topics can paint you in an unfavorable light depending on the interviewer’s own beliefs, or the company’s values. A good rule of thumb is to give very little personal information unless it directly relates to the job description, or if you’re absolutely sure it’s appropriate. Use your intuition—if you’re unsure about anything, it’s probably best to leave it out.