Job interviews can be high-stress situations. Your words matter. The goal is to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are the candidate who is the best fit for the job. Knowing what not to say can make a real difference when it comes to making a great impression. Here are some of the things you should avoid saying during a job interview.
1. “Sorry I’m Late.”
Punctuality is important. Be sure to arrive 5 or 10 minutes early to an interview. Sometimes events happen that are out of our control. So, plan ahead for these circumstances (traffic, bad weather, etc.) and give yourself plenty of extra time. If you are more than 10 minutes early, you can wait in your car and read over your notes, or just do some deep breathing to say centered.
2. “My Boss is a Jerk.”
Speaking ill of a current or former employer (or manager) is always a bad idea. Everyone has experiences working for employers they do not get along with. But no matter how bad your formal employer was, you never want to malign them in an interview. Almost any hiring manager is going to ask why you left your last job. You might be tempted to point out the things you disliked about your last job, instead highlight why you think the position you are applying for is a better fit. However, your goal should be to come across as a positive person and complaining will make you seem negative. You also risk coming across as a difficult employee.
3. “How Much Does This Job Pay?”
Compensation is important. It is going to come up eventually. However, it is much better if you wait until a second interview or offer stage (and let the hiring manager bring it up). You don’t want to give the impression that you only care about money. It is even worse if this is the first thing you ask. You want to ask great questions, showcase your interest in the company, your career goals, your skills, etc. before you get to that stage.
4. “How Much Vacation Time Do I Get? Can I Work from Home?”
Most candidates are eager to know how much vacation time they will get and if there are opportunities to work from home. These are the kinds of a questions you want to wait to ask until you are in the negotiation stage of an offer. Asking these questions too early can make you look lazy or self-centered.
5. “What Perks Will I Receive?”
Don’t bring up benefits or perks during a first interview. Such questions make it seem like all you care about is what is in it for you. Instead, you want to ask questions that show you are interested in the company, their past successes, and future growth.
6. “When Will I Get Promoted?”
You don’t want to come across as cocky or presumptuous. Find a better way to ask this question, such as “I would like to stay with the company for many years. What time of career path could be possible in that time?”
Name-dropping is a risk. While, there is a chance you might impress the interviewer, you could also come across as desperate or boastful. You especially do not want to name drop if you cannot back it up. If you provide a reference, the hiring manager will contact that reference, so there is no need to exaggerate in the process.
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