What Not to Say in the Interview

on 8:39 AM

The interviewer is examining the candidate for the following criteria:
  • Qualified to do the job
  • Willing to do the job and advance corporate goals
  • Able to fit in with the current corporate culture
There are some things you can say that could knock you out of the running. The following statements send an alarm to the interviewer that you may not meet one of the above criteria.

  1. Negative comments about your current or past employers and co-workers.

    No good can come from talking down your past employers. You run the risk of seeming like an employee that may be a "management problem."
     
  2. Requests for special hours or equipment unless you have a handicap that necessitates special accommodations.

    If you are asking for special treatment during the interview, one can only imagine your requests once you're comfortably hired. Can you say, "High maintenance?"
     
  3. Avoid initiating salary discussions or making demands in the early interview stages.

    Let the prospective employer initiate salary discussions. It is OK to give a range, or to ask what they feel the range is for the position. However, it can be a turnoff if you are the one to initiate the subject of salary.
     
  4. Asking about vacation days, sick days or holidays.

    This can be a turnoff because you may seem more interested in time off rather than the job itself. Would a hardworking, dedicated employee be more focused on days off or doing a good job?
     
  5. Don't give a list of the things you won't do.

    Telling an interviewer that you don't answer phones, or file, or work overtime is another alarm. Make sure you apply for positions that are appropriate for you, and understand that there will always be tasks that are not enjoyable.
     
  6. Asking, "What is it your company does again?"

    Take the time to know about the company before you interview.
     
  7. "I don't know, I just saw your ad and I thought I'd give this a try."

    Yes, candidates really say this. Always prepare yourself. If you don't know why you are there, or how this position fits in with your goals, maybe you should not be there.
     
  8. "I don't have any negative points."

    In an interview, you may be asked to list your negative qualities. Have at least one ready, and more importantly explain how you are working to improve it. Another angle is to explain how it is negative and also positive. For example, "Once I start a project I throw myself into it and sometimes neglect personal obligations. I have to keep myself in check to avoid burnout."
     
  9. Avoid argumentative statements.

    Remember you want to be liked and fit in. If you are hired you will have plenty of time to learn their business and make suggestions. The interview is not the time to argue and force your opinions.
     
  10. No whining or complaining.

    Leave your personal problems at home. Present yourself as a strong, capable person that can overcome setbacks and challenges.
     
  11. Do not make dishonest or misleading statements.

    The truth tends to come out at some point. The old adage "Honesty is the best policy" applies here.
     
  12. It goes without saying that slang and expletives should not be used.

    Derogatory remarks about a particular gender, race or nationality are out of line.

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