June 20, 2022

Many of us have that fear of accidentally saying the wrong thing during an interview. While that often doesn’t happen, there are some common mistakes people make when answering or asking questions in interviews. With this in mind, here are six things you should never say during a job interview.

Asking Basic Questions about the Company

While it’s perfectly acceptable to ask many types of questions about the company, you should never ask basic questions that could have been answered with a simple Google search or by viewing the company’s website.

Before going to an interview, you are expected to do your research. This is important in helping you prepare. Doing your research also shows that you’re genuinely interested in working for the company. Asking basic questions such as, “what does the company do?” is a good way to get looked over for the role because they don’t feel you are serious about the job.

Speaking Poorly about Previous Coworkers or Bosses

You may get a question such as, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a workplace conflict.” When answering the question, it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about how you handled miscommunications or differences in working styles. However, you should never speak poorly of a previous boss or coworker during an interview.

If you do make the mistake of speaking poorly about someone, you are likely doing damage to your image rather than theirs. Even if you did have a toxic boss, that’s something you want to keep to yourself when being interviewed.

Overusing Buzzwords

Virtually every industry has buzzwords and jargon. However, some words or phrases are so overused that they become clichés and should be avoided during job interviews. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about a strong talent you have. Rather, you should find another way to phrase it.

For example, instead of saying that you “think outside the box,” say you have “strong critical thinking skills” or “creative solutions to resolving problems.” Then back this up with an example of a time when you were able to use these skills at a previous workplace or during a prior project. This answers the question without using buzzwords and provides a concrete example of your success.

Bringing Up Potential Problems

The interview is not the time for you to negotiate or bring up specific issues. For example, you shouldn’t state that you have a vacation planned for next month or that you may not be able to meet the typical nine-to-five schedule. While you can ask general questions such as “are flexible hours a possibility,” don’t go into depth about your own situation.

You should only bring these issues up if and when you are offered the job. Then you can negotiate things such as a flexible schedule or specific time off. These are things that you want to do after an organization has already decided that it wants to hire you, not before.

Using Profanity or Inappropriate Stories

You would think that not using profanity would be the basic assumption for interviews, but you would be wrong. There are countless times when people have used profanity, and it doesn’t end well. It can make you look unprofessional and will generally be seen as a red flag. It’s something you should never say during a job interview.

Additionally, when telling stories in response to interview questions, be sure that your stories are appropriate for the professional atmosphere. While you may want to use a personal story to describe a time you used your communication skills, ensure that you’re not sharing too much personal information.

Not Asking Any Questions

After the interviewer is finished asking their questions, they will typically ask you if you have any questions. You never want to be the person that says you don’t have any questions. Even if they have already answered your main questions during the interview, not asking questions can convey a message that you aren’t that interested in the job.

Part of preparing for an interview involves doing some research about the organization and coming up with some questions. Be sure to have a few questions to ask when the time comes. Asking questions can also provide you with an extra opportunity to make additional points or further express your excitement about the opportunity.

Final Thoughts

When participating in a job interview, it’s important to perform your best. While there are many things you want to highlight to sell your skills to an employer, there are also a number of things that you never want to say during a job interview. These six things are among those that you should always avoid.

At Achēv, our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.

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