Seven things not to say during an interview

Being invited to an interview is a sign that the company is preliminarily interested in the candidate. So it’s worth making an effort to take advantage of the opportunity, and present your best side. What should you avoid during a job interview in order not to lose the chance at a new job?

  • “My previous boss was terrible”

    Even if the motivation to change jobs results from bad relations with an employer or supervisor, candidates should keep that information to themselves. During an interview, it’s never appropriate to speak negatively about your previous employers, bosses or colleagues. In openly criticizing others, the candidate creates the image of a difficult person, who can’t handle tough situations and can’t find constructive solutions, which naturally can affect their work. Additionally, the potential boss, hearing criticism of a previous supervisor, may suspect that in the future the candidate will also talk about them in a similar way. Such a suspicion automatically generates distrust toward the candidate, and may mean their exclusion from further stages of the recruitment process.

  • “This is stressful”

    A job interview is an unusual situation for the candidate. During such encounters, everyone tries to look their best and make a great impression on the recruiter or potential employer. Everyone also makes sure not to say anything that could indicate a lack of competence or knowledge. The way the candidate acts in a stressful situation says a lot about them. So there’s no need to inform the recruiter about your stress, because there’s a risk that on this basis the recruiter will give the candidate low marks for the ability to handle difficult situations.

  • “I know I don’t have a lot of experience, but…”

    The recruiter is perfectly aware of the candidate’s work experience, because before the conversation, they have scrutinized the application. Saying that you don’t have a lot of experience can be taken by the recruiter as a type of hedging and an excuse for the future. Instead of focusing on your weak points, it’s better to concentrate on your development, knowledge and the experience you gained in previous positions, and on how you’ll be able to use them in the new job. During an interview, the candidate should think about their qualifications as they would think about a product that they want to sell as well as they can. The product offering the candidate presents should be competitive with those presented by other applicants, which is why it’s so important to stress your strong sides. You have to remember not to inflate your skills, or to lie about your experience. Even if the candidate gets their dream job, their skills and preparation to execute certain tasks will be tested very quickly, already during the first month in the job. It often happens that when a company is aware of certain gaps in a candidate’s preparation, they arrange training that allows them to quickly integrate into the workplace and execute their duties properly.

  • “My weakness is perfectionism”

    “What are your weaknesses?” This is a question that’s asked very often during job interviews. When that happens, no answer seems right; in the end the recruiter is demanding that the candidate admit to something that can determine whether they continue participating in the recruitment process. The answer should be prepared before the meeting. For this purpose, it’s good to analyze the duties that have to be performed in the position you’re applying for, to ensure, for example, that a candidate applying for a position that requires fluent English and knowledge about information technology doesn’t name weak English and a low level of knowledge about IT as their weaknesses. It’s definitely wrong to quote the phrases known to every recruiter like “my weakness is perfectionism” or “I’m too precise.” That can be taken as an attempt to avoid answering. It’s better to talk about a rather insignificant but true flaw – after all, nobody is perfect. Additionally, the purpose of this question is not to sink the candidate, but to check their ability to deal with problematic situations.

  • “That’s in my CV”

    The recruiter knows perfectly well what’s in the candidate’s CV. So if they ask a question about a skill or experience that was already described in the application, that’s because they want to draw out the most precise data they can from the candidate about their experience. The role of the recruiter is to gain specific information about the experience and competences of the people taking part in the recruitment process, as well as comparing this information to the profile of the ideal candidate and the duties performed in a particular position. Replying “That’s in my CV” indicates a lack of professionalism on the part of the candidate. It’s best to answer each of the recruiter’s questions as specifically and precisely as possible.

  • “How much longer will this interview last?”

    When setting up an interview, the recruiter usually informs the candidate how long the meeting will last. But if they don’t, the candidate should ask about the agenda for the meeting and how much time they should set aside for it. Asking how long the interview will last once it’s already under way is decidedly inappropriate, and can be taken as a lack of respect to the person conducting the recruitment. It’s also worth remembering to switch off or silence your mobile phone before the meeting, so it won’t interrupt the interview. Stepping out of the meeting, except of course in an emergency, is seen badly. But if the candidate is waiting for a very important call that day, they should reschedule the meeting, or inform the recruiter of the situation ahead of time.

  • “I’m looking for any job”

    One of the most frequent questions that’s first to be asked by the recruiter is the reason for taking part in the recruitment process. Unfortunately, it still happens that candidates aren’t prepared for this question, and answer in a spontaneous, unthinking way, saying e.g. “I sent my CV out in response to a bunch of ads, and you happened to call.” This is a big mistake. For the recruiter, it’s a clear signal that the candidate has negligible interest in the company and the recruitment process, and that automatically calls into question their motivation to work at that company, or in that position, and puts the candidate in an unflattering light. On this basis it can be suspected that investing in such a candidate will bear an increased risk. A candidate who’s unsure of their decisions concerning professional development may quickly leave a company for a trivial reason.