There are some things that you should definitely avoid saying during a job interview. The wrong response to a question can reveal flaws in your attitude, insufficient preparation or a lack of interest in the job. This can make an employer think twice about hiring you. Here are 10 examples of the worst things to say in a job interview, along with advice on what you can say instead to impress the interviewer.
1. I hate my job
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in an interview is to criticise the organisation you work for (or used to work for) or to say your boss is awful.
Not only is this unprofessional, it can reflect negatively on your character. You also don’t know what relationship the interviewer has with your employer: for example, the company may be a major client.
Instead, emphasise what you have learned in your current job and explain why you find the new position appealing.
2. I don’t know
Saying you don’t know or giving a vague answer – for example “It sounds like a good job” – when asked why you applied for a position is not a good answer.
A better answer will be to explain why the job appeals to you, for example relating it to your education or background, and what it is you can bring to the job.
3. My family motivates me to succeed
Family, more money, fear of failure – these are all valid motivations. But an interviewer wants to hear how your motivations will be beneficial to their organisation.
Tell them about the challenges you expect to face or the targets you might be given, and how these will motivate you to succeed.
4. In five years from now, I’ll be doing your job
Arrogant statements will not endear you to an interviewer. You risk giving the impression you think you’re better than them. They may also feel threatened by the idea you’re planning to take their job in the future.
Show the interviewer you are serious about your progress by telling them what you would like to learn and accomplish in the timeframe.
5. I don’t have any weaknesses
Be ready to share some of your weaknesses, as this demonstrates your self-insight and commitment to growth. Just make sure they aren’t critical to your ability to perform the job.
Another good approach is to talk about an old weakness that you have successfully worked towards improving or have overcome.
6. I’m a massive Broncos fan and love a good party
When an interview asks you to talk about yourself, they don’t want to hear all about your personal life.
Focus on your professional skills and attributes that will help you get the job done. You can add some personal information for balance. Employers like it when people mention their own interests as it helps them to better understand you as a person, but choose something appropriate. And think twice before telling a joke.
7. I’m the best person for job
Overconfidence is a real turn off for employers. Unless you have met and evaluated all the other candidates, you don’t even know if you are the best candidate.
If asked why they should hire you, provide specific reasons why you’ll succeed in the job. Give examples of how you have added value in various work or volunteer scenarios.
8. Can I work from home?
Keep questions like holiday entitlements and benefits until after you’ve been offered a position. Otherwise the employer may question your motivation or work ethic.
9. How much does this job pay?
Asking about the salary at a job interview can signal that all you are after is money.
For advice on finding out what a job pays and negotiating a higher salary, read our guide to salary negotiations.
10. I don’t have any questions
Prepare some questions for your potential employer. This shows that you’ve researched the company or build on something the interviewer has shared with you.
Another approach is to ask the interviewer about their experience with the organisation such as: “Why would you recommend working here?”
Practise your answers to job interview questions
Although these are the worst things to say in a job interview, another way people make mistakes in interviews is not preparing fully. Our career coaching programs will ensure you’re fully prepared for whatever questions you’re asked.