You Should Never Say These Seven Things in an Interview

John Krautzel
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When you're in the middle of a job search, you probably prepare carefully for every job interview. But did you know you can hurt your employment chances if you say the wrong thing? Here are seven things to avoid saying in your next job interview.

1. What You Say: "What does your company do?"

What the Interviewer Hears: "I'm too lazy to bother with research."

Maybe in a pre-Google era, it was fine to ask some version of this question in a job interview. Now you have no excuse. If you don't know what the company does, it's because you didn't bother to type a few words into a search box.

2. What You Say: Anything that sounds memorized.

What the Interviewer Hears: A robot.

Interviewers have heard all the rote answers before. They can recognize when someone has memorized something that sounds good but has no sense of authenticity behind it.

3. What You Say: "How much does the job pay?"

What the Interviewer Hears: "All I care about is money."

Of course, you care about what the job pays. The job interviewer knows you do. If you bring up the subject first, though, you're likely to make a bad impression. If the company is interested in you for the job, it'll bring up the subject. Be patient.

4. What You Say: "My last boss was a total jerk."

What the Interviewer Hears: "When I leave my position at this company, I will bad-mouth everyone I worked with at the company."

In a job interview, never say bad things about the people you used to work with, especially your former boss. Doing so pinpoints you as a complainer and as someone who's not trustworthy. You don't want that reputation.

5. What You Say: "No, I don't have any questions."

What the Interviewer Hears: "I'm not really interested in this position."

A job interview should be a two-way street. It's a conversation, not an interrogation. You need to contribute to the conversation by coming prepared with several interested (and interesting) questions you can ask about the position and the company. The questions should show you've done your homework. You get bonus points if you come up with a question your interviewer has never heard before.

6. What You Say: "Five years from now, I'll be your boss."

What the Interviewer Hears: "I'm arrogant and will walk over anyone who gets in my way."

The standard job interview question "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" is a tricky one to answer. It's one thing to express a sense of ambition, but avoid giving a cocky answer that manages to insult the job interviewer.

7. What You Say: "Is it going to be an issue if...?"

What the Interviewer Hears: "I'm underprepared and unconfident."

Don't lie if a job interviewer asks you about specific skills you don't possess. But don't bring them up. Maybe the skills you're worried about don't even matter in this job.

When you're amply prepared for a job interview, your job search is likely to reap the rewards you desire. Take the time to focus not only on what you should say during your next interview but also on the things you should avoid saying to keep from sabotaging yourself.

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