12 HR Pros Share What You Should NEVER Say in an Interview
We all want to be bonafide #girlbosses in our careers. But before you can start your #humblebrag tour at the office, you actually have to land the gig. Whether you’re looking to break out of a work rut and change careers or you’re fresh out of college searching for your first gig, the hiring process can be a total drag. Between getting your resume up-to-date and networking like a pro, sometimes searching for a job can actually feel like a job. When you find yourself face-to-face with a hiring manager, you have to make the most of your time together, so we talked with 12 HR pros about the one thing they NEVER want to hear potential employees say in an interview. Read, write down and remember what *not* to do in your next one-on-one.
1. Don’t try to pull a fast one. “I never want to hear someone say that they’d like to ‘Be a better delegator’ in response to the question ‘What are some things about yourself that you want to improve upon?’ An answer like this intentionally takes what many people interpret as a positive and makes it sound like a negative trait. However, this response makes it seem as though the candidate does not have enough confidence in their co-workers or team to share responsibilities in an effort to work toward a common business goal.” — Marcy Axelrad, Global Senior Director of Talent Management and Employee Development, Wayfair
2. Don’t play hard to get. “The one thing I think would dead end an interview right there is to say anything that shows you’re not really interested in the job. For example, ‘I’m happy in my current job, but… ’ or ‘The timing isn’t quite right, but I thought I’d come in and meet you.'” — Sandy Charet, recruiter for PR industry
3. Don’t trash talk. “Never trash talk your last employer! Even if you’re asked why you left, focus on the personal goals that drove you to seek a new position — you wanted more responsibility, wanted to manage people or you wanted a new challenge.” — Gabby Bill, career coach, Gabrielle Bill, Career Coaching & Consulting
4. Don’t overshare. “During a job interview, it’s natural to engage in small talk, but it’s always best to avoid discussing anything too personal, like your political standing and views on the upcoming election. Stating your preference on hotly debated topics can cause controversy and upset what might otherwise be a great dynamic between you and your interviewer. Instead, focus the conversation on less polarizing topics, such as the company’s latest product or growth announcements. It will show you’ve done your research.” — Amy Glaser, SVP, Adecco Staffing
5. Don’t disrespect authority. “Interviewees should never say that they have trouble with authority — either exercising your authority or responding to authority. Authority or the power to influence based on knowledge and expertise is crucial to most job positions. You will need to exercise authority and be comfortable with it, and you will need to respond to authority, not simply take orders, but offer feedback, question and recognize knowledge and expertise.” — Laura MacLeod, HR expert
6. Don’t ever interrupt. Ever. “No matter how much you may want the job or know how qualified you are, your interviewer sits in the driver’s seat. When you interrupt, it says any or all of the following: that you lack appropriate social skills, that you don’t value what the interviewer has to say or that you don’t respect authority. You may get your point across but at the expense of being invited back for the next round of interviews.” — Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide
7. Don’t let on to your post-interview plans: “Don’t say: ‘After I leave here I’m going to meet a friend who works nearby for lunch.’ Sounds harmless, but by sharing your post-interview plans, you may inadvertently be placing pressure on your interviewer to hurry things up, and that won’t help your interviewer’s mindset or your chances of moving on in the process. Not to mention, you shouldn’t have plans right after the interview. Who’s to say that your interviewer won’t want to take you to lunch or have you spend another 40 minutes talking with another employee?” — Alex Twersky, Co-founder & VP of Resume Deli
8. Don’t apologize. “Don’t ever say ‘sorry.’ I hear this from time to time. It takes various forms. ‘Sorry, that (answer) was a little long.’ ‘Sorry, no one’s ever asked me that question before.’ But it always leaves me with the same impression — a lack of confidence. In an interview, you have to be your biggest fan. And when you apologize, it sends signals that you’re unsure of yourself. If your answer goes a little long, credit it to your passion versus being long winded. If you’re stumped, say ‘Wow, no one’s ever asked me that’ not ‘I’m sorry, no one’s ever asked me that.’ You don’t have to be perfect, but stand behind your words and stand behind yourself. Don’t ever apologize.” — Julie Vessel, Director of Talent at mono
9. Don’t ask about the Benjamins: “Don’t ever go in saying, ‘Show me the money!’ Candidates immediately asking about benefits can be a red flag for most hiring managers. The obvious expectation from potential applicants would be that they wait until the employer has made up his or her mind before beginning that discussion.” — Brandi Britton, district president of staffing firm, OfficeTeam
10. Don’t look unprepared. “Never ask what the company does. If you have to go into an interview and ask what the company does, you obviously didn’t do any prior research, and this immediately shows how little you care.” — Lindsey Cummins, CEO of Winq
11. Don’t come in guns blazing. “In our experience, interviewees that boast about wanting to ‘shake things up’ tend to stay unemployed. Companies do appreciate creative and independent workers, but the right to make changes is something that comes after establishing some experience and trust. What employers want from new employees is a willingness to learn, especially a willingness to do things the way the organization needs them done.” — Adam Hatch, hiring manager and career advisor at ResumeGenius.com
12. Don’t look needy. “Never say ‘I really need this job right now’ in an interview. It should be obvious, but my number one pet peeve is when the candidate tells me that they really need the job. It doesn’t matter if I’m hiring for the most menial work, I want to hear that you think you could do really well in the position, not that you are in a financial crisis.” — Patti Wilcox, owner and hiring manager at Awestruck Ciders
Tweet us your interview tips @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)