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Careers Advice

The things you should never say in an interview

Unless you’re famous or in a position of power, there are usually no repercussions for saying slightly the wrong thing at the wrong time. One of the few exceptions to this is in an interview, where you are likely be judged on every conversational faux pas you make. You only get one chance to make a good impression, so here’s a list of the things that you should never say in interview and why…

“How much does this job pay?”

Don't be the first to bring up salary because mentioning pay sends the message that it’s just the money you’re after. This is an especially bad idea in the first meeting. You need to show interest in the role and the company and show how employing you will benefit them. Money is something you can discuss later if you’re asked.

“My boss was useless”

Stay away from saying anything derogatory about your old boss and company. It’s unprofessional and prospective employers may assume that you're a potential negative influence and that you’ll be difficult to manage. People who dwell on the past have issues that stop them from growing so just move forward to better things.

“I'll have your job”

Some inexperienced interviewers ask outdated questions such as “where do you see yourself in five years?” and it’s important not to be arrogant when you respond. Confidence is a great thing, but excessively cocky statements will not endear you to Hiring Managers. Remember that apart from your skills, interviewers are assessing whether you’ll be a good team fit so you need to be somebody other people would want to work with.

“I hate my job”

Don’t respond negatively if you’re asked, “why are you looking for a new job?". Keep your answers upbeat and emphasise why the new role is appealing and highlight skills you’ve developed in your current position. Remember that negative comments and a pessimistic attitude will be a red flag to Hiring Managers.

“Will this take long?”

Never give the impression that you’re in a hurry or have somewhere else to be because the interviewer will feel that you’re not taking the interview seriously and that you’re not interested in the role. Always allow plenty of extra time for interviews because an hour slot can turn into ninety minutes if the interviewer feels they need further answers. This is usually a good sign because somebody they didn’t like would usually be pushed out of the door as soon as possible.

“It’s on my CV”

The interviewer already knows it’s on your CV and is asking because they want further detail and to check that it’s something you can do to the level that they require for their vacancy. Sometimes candidates exaggerate or even lie on their CV so asking questions is an excellent way to establish realistic skill levels. They are also evaluating communication and social skills such as whether you are suited to a client-facing role or would be better off hidden away in a server room.

“How much holiday do you get and is there flexible working?”

It's always best to show what you can offer the hiring organisation and not to look like you're only interested in what you can get for yourself. The interviewer might question your motivation or work ethic if you ask things like this so wait until you have an offer before enquiring. Details of employee benefits are often on a company’s website so you could also potentially show that you haven’t researched properly.

“I’ve been having a tough time lately”

Most people will be incredibly sympathetic to someone who has been made redundant, is going through a divorce or is dealing with family problems. However, sharing too much will only make the interviewer wonder if your personal life will affect your job performance or even worse that you’re some kind of maniac who causes drama. Opening up about the constant fights with your neighbours over planning permission or how your ex keeps following you home from the pub are not relevant to the interview so keep your troubles under wraps and keep the conversations focused on your professional life.

“What the £@*%$!!”

You’d think it’s a given that people wouldn’t swear in an interview but sometimes things slip out. Don’t join in even if the interviewer drops the F bomb because it’s unprofessional.

“I don't have any questions”

Only ask genuine questions and never too many because you don’t want to make the interviewer feel interrogated. Good examples of things to ask include what does a typical day look like? How long have you been with the company? What’s your favourite part about working here? Where do you see this company in the next few years? What’s the company and team culture like? Questions need to feel natural and flow in conversation.

Remember to think before you speak, remain calm and respond to everything in a positive fashion and your interview should go smoothly.

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