A job interview can be stressful but if you prepare for it and know what not to say you’ll impress the interviewer. These are the 20 biggest red flags.
All jobseekers know that some job interviews will always be more pleasant than others. Some are just conducted in a more relaxed environment which allows the candidate to be as stress-free as possible, while others are meaningful and interesting.
Regardless of what the interviewer is like, most jobseekers recognise that the true goal of any job interview should be to impress the hiring manager. They know that the only way to leave the interview room with a job offer is to make the hiring manager want to hire them, but many jobseekers fail to see how preparing for the job interview will help increase their chances.
Being prepared for the job interview doesn't mean that you’ll know how to answer each and every question. It means that you should have a clear understanding of what you should and shouldn’t say during the job interview, and this is why it’s always helpful to read common interview questions and answers.
Knowing what you might be asked and having an understanding of how you should respond can help you formulate better answers. It could even help you find the right words to convince the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job.
To do that you need to know how to give answers in a professional manner but you also need to know what you should never say during a job interview. Hiring managers are attentive to detail and if you say something that they consider a red flag it could easily cost you the job. To avoid that, make sure that you know what to avoid saying.
1. 'What do you do here?’
To succeed in a job interview you need to be prepared for it, and this means that you should take the time to research the company and find out exactly what it is that they do. This question tells the interviewer that you have done no research at all.
2. ‘I am nervous’
Of course, you are nervous, the interviewer knows that, but do you really need to say it to their face? Candidates who are more relaxed and appear to be more confident always do better as the hiring manager feels that they are more trustworthy.
3. ‘I know I don’t have much experience, but…’
This could easily slip out as most of us want to be honest when talking about ourselves, but during the job interview, saying something like this could end up backfiring. The interviewer has seen your CV so they know just how much experience you have and they don’t need to be reminded of that during the interview. It will seem more like an obstacle than anything else.
4. ‘It’s on my CV’
Hiring managers ask about a lot of things that are on your CV for various reasons. Maybe they want you to elaborate, or maybe they want to evaluate your communication skills, whatever the case, you are there to talk about yourself so be willing to do that.
5. ‘I hate my job’
If you are currently employed but you’ve applied for a different job, the hiring manager can probably tell that you hate your job. Steer clear of this answer as it will raise questions as to whether you’ll end up hating the new job as well.
6. ‘I don’t know’
Not knowing the answer to something can and does happen. However, you should never just say I don’t know. Explain that you think it’s an excellent question and that you can answer it partly but you’ll have to do some research before giving them a full answer.
7. Sorry I’m late’
Never be late for a job interview unless you can provide a really great excuse. Showing up late reveals a lack of professionalism and makes a bad first impression.
8. ‘Sorry I’m early’
If you are early for the job interview, wait for a while before you go in. You don’t want to pressure the hiring manager to drop everything that they are doing to talk to you, and you don’t want them to feel guilty about leaving you to wait for half an hour. Start on the right foot by being there about 5 to 10 minutes early.
9. Use complex words or sentence structures
When we speak, we use simple sentences so if you start using complex words that don’t come up in everyday conversation, it will be obvious that you read the interview response somewhere and learnt it by heart.
10. Use filler words
Filler words such as ‘like’, ‘um’ etc. do occur in conversations, but if you use them too often, they’ll make you appear less professional and less certain of what you are saying so try to make your sentences flow as much as possible without using filler words too much.
11. Share irrelevant stories
The recruitment market is making a shift towards keeping interviews more casual which means that you should be more conversational, but don’t get carried away and think that it’s a good opportunity to share all your random stories in the hope that you’ll impress the hiring manager. Stick to sharing stories that demonstrate your skills and qualifications.
12. ‘How much vacation time do your employees get?’
We all want to know how much time off we’ll get, but is it essential that you learn that during the interview? Asking this will make you seem like a completely unmotivated individual who’s only interested in taking time off work. And considering that you haven’t even started working for them this won’t work in your favour.
13. ‘No questions’
At the end of every interview, the hiring manager will ask you if you have any questions. Do not say that you have no questions as this will make you seem not interested in learning more about the company. Having questions means that you’ve been paying attention and that you are eager to learn more about the opportunity.
14. Order the fanciest thing on the menu
Lunch interviews are becoming more and more common, especially for people applying for jobs which will require meeting with clients so don’t be surprised if the hiring manager invites you out for lunch. Remember that you should be just as professional and be mindful of your manners as the hiring manager will be judging everything that you do. Ask them if they’ve ever been to the restaurant before and if they have make sure that you ask them for suggestions as this will help you understand what the price range is.
15. ‘Can I ask how long the interview will take?’
Always make sure to clear your schedule before a job interview as you don’t want to be time pressured during an interview. A great interview could take half an hour, but it could also take two hours. If it takes longer to convince the hiring manager that you are the right candidate you should be able to invest that time. Asking this could make you look uninterested in the job which definitely won't impress the hiring manager.
16. ‘How much does the job pay?’
You should never be the first person to bring up the salary as this makes a very bad impression. Allow the hiring manager to introduce the subject on his or her own, but be warned that they might not even talk about it during the first interview.
17. 'I’ve booked a vacation’
It’s happened to all of us at one point or another to interview for a job when we have a vacation coming up, but there’s no need to mention that unless they ask or make you a job offer. You need to appear as available as possible as the hiring manager may be in a hurry.
18. ‘What does the benefits package include?’
Asking questions and wanting to know exactly what you are being offered is not wrong in any way. What is wrong is not being patient and asking these things before the appropriate time. Remember that your interview responses should all focus on how you are the best person for the job and they should never be about what you can get out of the job.
19. ‘Do you mind if I take this call?’
Your phone should be turned off during the job interview, and no matter how big of an emergency it is, you should avoid being preoccupied with anything else during the job interview as this will make you seem disrespectful. If you have something major going on, ask if you can reschedule your interview. The hiring manager should have your undivided attention, and you should be fully concentrated during the job interview.
20. Use clichés
Such as ‘I think outside the box’ or ‘Perfectionism is my only weakness’. Hiring managers have heard these things hundreds of times, and they won’t be impressed. Be honest and find more creative ways to impress them.
To be successful during the job interview, you need to focus on proving to the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job. Design your answers to showcase your skills and talents and make sure that you thoroughly research the company before the job interview as this can help you get an insight into what goes on at the company.
Do you have any other tips on things that jobseekers should avoid saying during job interviews? Share with us in the comment section below.