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20 Things You Should Avoid Saying in a Job Interview

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Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, intense, stressful, and, well, downright funny. Whether you’re heading into your first interview or you’ve done this before, always remember the importance of common sense. But just in case you’re not sure what should or shouldn’t be said, here are a few suggestions…

Things you should never say to a prospective employer:

  • “My last boss was terrible.” While that may be true, no supervisor wants to think that you may eventually speak ill of him or her as well.
  • “What kind of business is this?” It’s called research! Most any business will have at least a presence on social media if not a website. Get to know the business before applying.
  • “How many sick days do we get?” Or any other reference to being out of work frequently.
  • “I’ll do anything you need me to do…I just need the job!” Talk about unprofessional, and frankly, desperate.
  • “I’ll take the lower salary just to work here.” Again, desperate. And never sell yourself short.
  • “I’m (state your age) years old.” A prospective employer should not know your age. That’s why it’s illegal to ask your birthdate, year of high school graduation, etc.
  • “I have issues with being on time. Can my schedule be flexible?” Most jobs will be on a set schedule, and you’ll be expected to be on time. If you have a problem with schedules, perhaps you should consider a line of employment with a flexible schedule. (Don’t miss a great article on productivity while working from home, here!)
  • “I’m not a team player.” Unless you are 100% self-employed, you will be working with at least one other person, so don’t set yourself up for disaster right off the bat.
  • Use of curse or swear words. That may be offensive to the person interviewing you, and it shows a lack of maturity in being in professional situations.
  • “I have a vacation planned next month.” Don’t risk a job offer for an upcoming trip. Once the job offer is made, then you can discuss the needed time off.
  • “I don’t feel well.” Some times you need to keep this to yourself.
  • “Sorry I’m late.” Really? Don’t be late!
  • “Yeah” or “Nah” or any other slang. Always answer with yes or no and in complete sentences.
  • “I have somewhere else to be soon.” Somewhere more important than getting a job? Likely not!
  • “What are the company perks?” You don’t have the job yet. Discussions on perks should wait until an offer has been made.
  • “I plan on going back to school, or move, or start my own business” …anything that makes it obvious this is nothing more than a temporary job for you.
  • “It’s on my resume.” A talent manager may view hundreds of resumes for just one job opening. Please don’t assume she will remember every word of your specific resume.
  • “How soon would I be promoted?” Shouldn’t you be concerned with getting the job first?
  • “Is there someone else here that I could speak with?” Rude!
  • Compliment your interviewer. That seems a bit like a kiss-up.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, intense, stressful, and, well, downright funny…here are a few things you should never say…

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Hopefully you get the point! Sometimes you wonder how people could possibly come up with some of these things, but they’ve all been said before, and more than once. It may help to alleviate interview stress to either practice what you will plan on saying based on interview questions you find online, or perhaps even role-play with someone. Job interviews don’t have to be intimidating if you’ve done your research, dress appropriately, and practice professionalism.


For more practical workplace tips, read 10 Ways to Be a Young, Respectful Professional, Do You Have to Like Your Job?5 Tips on Dealing With Sexual Harassment in the Workplace2 Simple Secrets to Long-Term SuccessTo the Mom Who Feels Guilty for Loving Her Work, 4 Things to Do When Searching For Your Dream Joband The 6 Qualities That Make a Female Leader Strong
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Teresa is admittedly not a cook, gardener, or skilled at crafts or anything Pinterest. She only has a kitchen because it came with her house and boasts that has never mowed a lawn.

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