It’s always intimidating to interview for a new job, whether you’re fresh out of university and eager to break into your industry or a veteran looking to transition to a new company. As best practices, new technologies and expectations shift within industries at an ever-faster rate, it can be a challenge to present yourself in the best way for each interview.
That being said, there are just some things a job seeker should never say in an interview. To help job candidates avoid making a slip-up, we interviewed 15 experts to share their advice on the one thing you should never say during a job interview.
1. ‘This Job Will Be A Great Resume Builder.’
“I know this job will be a great resume builder.” That is a clear signal that you may be using the company name to set yourself up for your next job somewhere else. While no one expects employees to stay with an organization for decades any longer, no employer wants to invest time, money and effort developing someone who is only using the company as a stepping stone to their next gig. – Tonya Echols, Vigere
2. ‘I Can Do That, No Problem.’
Be completely honest about your “skills and wills.” No interviewer worth their salt wants to hear that you can do specific tasks and that it is “no problem” to you to do so.
Saying you can do something doesn’t mean that you want to do something or that you are competent in performing the activity. And saying “no problem” says to me that it may have been a problem to you in the first place. – Louis Carter, Best Practice Institute
3. ‘How Did I Do?’
Confidence in your skills is so important to articulate before, during and after an interview. If you’ve prepared proactively, done your homework researching the organization and have advised the hiring manager of specific results-based examples of how you’re the best fit for the job, then there’s no question that you’ve done amazing. Trust your skills. Your feedback will be getting the job. – Joyel Crawford, Crawford Leadership Strategies, LLC
4. ‘I’m A Fast Learner.’
Saying that you “learn fast” tells the interviewer that you have a gap in your skills with no plan to close it. Instead, use succinct storytelling to illustrate your abilities. Discuss a previous time that you have quickly onboarded a new skill with a positive outcome. Even better, explain your thought process to quickly assimilate the ability required to add value to the organization. – Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC
5. ‘I’ve Been Wronged At My Previous Job.’
Complaining about how badly you were treated by past employers is always a red flag to a potential employer. It also injects a negative tone into the interview and sends it off course and down a path of looking for reasons why not to hire you, rather than why to hire you. – Linda Zander, Super Sized Success
6. ‘What Does This Job Pay?’
Want to stop an interview dead in its tracks? Ask about compensation. Rather than allowing interviewers to focus on your ability to do the job effectively, you’ll plant the idea that your interest in the job is all about the money. Wait for the employer to bring up salary. Then use the opportunity to reinforce that your interest is in the role and that salary is a secondary consideration. – Scott Singer, Insider Career Strategies
7. ‘I Want Your Job Someday.’
One of the quickest ways to make a hiring manager feel threatened is to tell them your plan is to go after their job. Should you show ambition and interest in advancement? Yes! Should you put a target on their back in your interview? No. Instead, talk about how you’ll advance within the organization by learning various roles so you’ll be the natural choice when an opportunity opens up. – Elizabeth Pearson, Elizabeth Pearson Executive Coaching
8. ‘How Quickly Will I Be Promoted?’
It’s certainly on your mind—advancement, more money and so on—but it’s also one of the worst questions to ask in an interview. The interviewer wants to know they’re about to hire the perfect person for their open position. Asking about the next promotion during the interview devalues the position you are currently discussing. It’s OK to be curious, but there’s a time and a place for everything. – Teresa Ray
9. ‘I Don’t Have Any Questions For You.’
When it’s your turn to query the interviewer, speak up! By this point, you should have a multitude of questions about the company, its mission and operating practices, and the qualities required of the ideal candidate.
Employers want engaged, dedicated employees, so demonstrate enthusiasm by asking intelligent questions about the job expectations and how you can best meet and exceed them. – Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC, COPNS, CTTCC, An Expert Resume
10. ‘What Would Stop You From Hiring Me?’
This is often used as a tactic to get employers thinking about moving forward with a hire, as it might be considered uncouth to make a comment about gaps in a prospective employee’s resume. Ironically, it is a great question to ask to learn how to improve candidacy for similar positions in the future if the interviewee does not land the role. – Billy Williams, Archegos
11. ‘I Don’t Know How.’
Saying, “I don’t know how,” without following it up with a way that you would use a resource to find out, shows a lack of initiative and problem-solving skills. “I don’t know how to use that specific software, but I would spend time Googling, reading the manual and requesting help from someone else with the knowledge” is a far better option. – Stacey Gordon, Rework Work
12. ‘Here Are My Weaknesses.’
It’s exceedingly rare that any job candidate ticks every single box of a prospective employer. If there’s particular experience listed in the job description that you don’t have, don’t just say, “I don’t have it.” Instead, be prepared to discuss specific actions you took and results you got that demonstrate the qualities and skills you have that would be commensurate to the experience they seek. – Ashley Good, Ashley Good Coaching & Consulting
13. ‘I Didn’t Get A Chance To Look.’
Reviewing an employer’s website in preparation for an interview isn’t enough. Show that you’re prepared, organized, enthusiastic and technologically current by reviewing their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and any other social media presence. (Do this especially if you’re a mature candidate!) These resources will provide real-time information about what the employer is thinking and doing. – Carroll Welch, Carroll Welch Consulting
14. ‘Could You Possibly Scratch My Rash?’
It’s amazing how often candidates start an interview with an employer by asking about which holidays are paid and what the benefits package consists of. That’s pretty much like asking a first date if they could possibly scratch your rash. Not only will the employer not change their benefits package for you, but it shows who you value in the relationship—yourself, primarily. Both will get you dumped. – John Hittler, Evoking Genius