A job interview is a lot like a first date, you only have one chance to make a good impression and you don't want something you said to ruin a great time. So, how can you avoid those small verbal mistakes? Here’s a list of what to avoid saying in the interview:
1. "I don't have any questions."
Many job seekers say this when an interviewer asks if they have questions. Saying this could hurt your chances of getting another interview. Interviewers want to know you're interested in their company. You might be familiar with the company's brand or what they do, but you're not an insider. The interview is your chance to have a sneak peek into the company's day-to-day. Aspects like onboarding, scheduling, or team comradery are not things you'll find using Google.
Instead of saying you don't have any questions, come to the interview with some! Find something interesting about the company to talk about. Starting points for good questions could be:
- What separates a top 10% from an average performer?
- What does success look like for me in this role a year from now?
- What, in your opinion, would you say is the biggest goal for new hires?
- Could you describe how employees schedule their day?
- How often do managers and I meet for training opportunities?
- How do more tenured employees typically interact with new hires?
2. "My last boss/job/coworkers were horrible."
Avoid playing the blame game during interviews. Even if this is true, going into personal attacks is not a good look. Doing so can suggest to employers that you lack the emotional maturity to move forward. Remember what's past is prologue, you cannot change what happened in the past.
What you can change though, is your outlook on the events. The best way to change your outlook is to look at what happened as a learning experience. You can say:
- I decided I outgrew my role because [list skills you learned].
- I always enjoyed [industry the company is in] and I know my experiences in [things that you did] will help me in this role by...
The answers don't blame anyone. These answers show that you're able to reflect on your past roles and grow from them. You show growth even if the past role wasn't ideal and that is a mark of a true professional.
3. "What does your company do?"
Asking this can end the interview before it even starts. Asking this comes across as lazy. Companies want to know you at least took the time to understand what they do. The job description lists a lot of this information. You can also find more info using their website or Nexxt's job search tool. There is no excuse to not do your research.
Think about it from a dating perspective. Would you marry someone you met yesterday? Of course not! You don't know that person well enough. You need to know if you can mesh well with that other person. And you get closer to figuring that out by doing your research to understand them better. To know more about a company, use search engines, LinkedIn, and your professional contacts to find more information.
4. "Will I hear from you soon?"
Avoid saying this phrase at the end of the interview. Interviewers need time to assess interview feedback. You don't know whether they need to see other candidates or if they have other tasks to do. So be respectful of their time. This question may also present you as someone lacking self-belief. Yes, we all want instant answers and feed to end the drama, but interviews are not Netflix shows. You have to show patience. Until then, operate under the assumption that you gave it your best.
If you must know when you'll hear back from an interview, you can ask the following:
- What are the next steps?
The purpose of this question is not to seek validation. Here you're establishing clear expectations with the interviewer. Interviewers give you a firm time they'll follow up. Having this clarity will help you relax as you don't have to wonder when you'll hear from them.
Now that you know the four phrases not to say during an interview, remove them from your vocabulary! Remember you can avoid the majority of these phrases by doing your research. Research helps you to craft questions and work stories that impress your interviewer. If done right, you will increase your chances for another interview!