Well, you’ve made it to the interview stage. Congratulations – that is often one of the most difficult steps of the job search. Managers have a lot of resumes to sift through, and there was something about yours that stood out. Now that you have the opportunity to sit down with the manager and sell yourself as the best candidate for the job, don’t blow it! Here are five things you should avoid saying at all costs.
I don’t have any questions.
Go to your interview prepared not only to answer questions, but to ask questions. The manager will most likely wrap up the interview by asking if you have any questions. Never say no! You do want to know more about the company you’re hoping to work for, right?
Prior to an interview, do some research on the company (and, if possible, the specific department of the job you’re applying for) and find out as much as you can about their business. You can also ask your network for their thoughts about the company, where applicable. Throughout your research, identify some areas that interest you and come up with questions that will provoke thoughtful answers from your interviewer; try to go beyond asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Your goal here is for the manager to mark you as someone who really cares about what you’re asking as opposed to other candidates who are just going through the motions.
I don’t like my current employer.
This is a huge no-no. Even if your boss is your nemesis, never badmouth your current (or previous) employer. You want to present yourself as a problem solver, not a problem creator. If an interviewer perceives you as difficult to work with, you have little chance of moving forward.
If this sensitive topic somehow works its way into your conversation, try to remain as neutral as possible and bring attention to the ways that you have grown and learned from the experience.
How much does this job pay/what are the benefits?
Ah, the old “what’s in it for me?” If you’re working with a reputable recruiter, you should already have an idea of what to expect regarding compensation. If you’re doing it alone, save this question for the end of an interview and be sure to ask tactfully (e.g. “I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to speak with me about this opportunity. I think we’re hitting it off, and I definitely see myself making an immediate impact with your organization. I’d like to ask about the compensation offered for this position so that we can ensure compatibility and move on to the next steps.”)
A manager doesn’t expect you to work for free, so jumping into a numbers conversation right off the bat will make it seem as if you’re only interested in the money. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know what a job pays, but at the initial stage your goal is to pass the interview; to do that, you need to show that your priorities are to align yourself with the needs of the company.
What does your company do?
This goes along with doing your due diligence in researching the company you hope to work for. “What does your company do?” is not an acceptable question to bring to an interview. One of the worst things you can do is to walk into the interview without a basic knowledge of the company, including what they do, their values and mission/what they stand for, their target customer, and what their business model looks like. This information is all readily available on a company’s website or social media pages, and can be easily found with a quick search. If you show up without a basic understanding of the fundamentals, you could be shown the door.
I’m just looking for any job.
Would you hire someone who didn’t demonstrate a passion or at least an interest in your business? Filling an open position costs a company and a team both time and money, and they don’t want to have to repeat the process in a few months. If you give the impression that you are just cruising the job boards and looking for a “Right Now” job, you’re going to turn off a potential employer who is looking for the “Right” long term fit.
Demonstrating an interest in each individual company you interview with by doing solid research, formulating thoughtful interview questions and expressing a genuine interest are just a few ways that you can show a manager that you’re in it for the long haul. If you have a background full of short term jobs, be prepared to have a conversation about why you are looking for something long term now and why you feel this company is right for you.
What are some other things that should never be said in an interview? Let us know!
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