25 Things You Should Never Say During a Job Interview

Woman in job interview
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There are some topics that you should keep to yourself during a job interview. According to a report from Glassdoor, the job interview process in the U.S takes an average of 22.9 days overall. That's way too many opportunities to say the wrong thing. Especially when you're feeling nervous from the stress of an interview setting, you may be tempted to reveal your doubts about the position, the employer, or your candidacy.

The interviewer isn’t interested in your personal life, your vacation plans, or why you need to get hired for the job. He or she wants to know why you’re the best-qualified person for the job.

Be Conservative in What You Say and Share

Keep your answers centered on your skills and qualifications. This isn't the time or the place to share your problems; your focus should be on capturing the employer's interest first, and negotiating second.

The same is true for how you really feel about your current (or past) employers. Negativity doesn’t go over well during job interviews, as companies are searching for optimistic candidates, and sharing too much personal information in a job interview won't help your chances of getting hired.

Below are 25 things you should never say during an interview:

  1. "I really hate my job." (Are you going to hate this job if they hire you?)
  2. "I have a vacation planned in a few weeks." (Wait to ask for time off until you have a job offer.)
  3. "My boss is the worst." (Are you going to say that about your new boss if things don’t work out?)
  4. "My current employer is awful." (Are you going to say that about the new company?)
  5. "How much does this job pay?" (Let the employer bring up money first.)
  6. "When do I get a vacation?" (Don’t ask about benefits until you’re offered the job.)
  7. "Can you give me taxi fare to get home?" (Figure out your transportation ahead of time.)
  8. "Do you mind if I take this call?" (Your phone should be turned off before you head into the interview.)
  9. "I really need this job." (You don’t want to come across as desperate.)
  10. "I don’t have all the experience you need, but I’m a quick learner." (Let the interviewer figure out if you’re qualified and focus on the skills that you do have.)
  11. "I don’t know." (Don’t panic if you can’t think of an immediate answer to a question. Instead, buy some time to come up with a response by rephrasing the question and asking for clarification.)
  12. "It’s on my resume." (Yes, it is, but the interviewer wants to hear it from you.)
  13. "I have an appointment; when will this be over?" (Give yourself plenty of time to interview and be aware the interview could run longer than you planned.)
  14. "Sorry, I’m late." (Don’t be late, unless you have an emergency, in which case it's better to reschedule.)
  15. Don't use profanity. (Keep it professional and polite.)
  16. "What’s the policy on dating co-workers?" (This is about work, not your love life.)
  17. "Do you have Friday Happy Hours or is there an open bar at holiday parties?" (Alcohol and work don’t mix well.)
  18. "I don’t have childcare lined up, but I’m working on it." (You don’t want to give the interviewer any reason to think that you won’t have the availability that’s needed by the company.)
  19. "I don’t have a car yet, but I will soon." (See above.)
  20. "This schedule doesn’t really work for me. Can it be changed?" (Don’t ask for anything until you have a job offer.)
  21. "I don’t have any questions." (You should always have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer.)
  22. "How does the company make money?" (You should thoroughly research the company before your interview and be prepared to speak about it.)
  23. "What's included in the benefits package?" (Wait for a job offer before discussing benefits.)
  24. "Interviews make me really nervous." (The interviewer wants to hire someone confident in his or her abilities, and will probably notice it for themselves if you're nervous. They'll also appreciate if you work through it courageously, rather than wasting time calling attention to your own anxiety.)
  25. "Can I work from home?" (Don’t bring up alternative working situations until you have a job offer.)

Another thing you shouldn't do at a job interview is ask the hiring manager directly if you have the job. Instead, ask for the job in a more subtle way that will ensure that the interviewer knows you'd love to be hired. 

There are things you can say that will help you make a good impression on the interviewer. Knowing what to say in an interview, as well as what not to say, will help you get hired.

How to Make the Best Impression

DON’T GIVE AN INTERVIEWER REASONS NOT TO HIRE YOU: Employers are going to be less enthusiastic about candidates who might have transportation, family, or other personal issues that can interfere with their work attendance and productivity.

BE CONFIDENT: An interview is not the time for soul-searching or expressing doubts about the job or your qualifications for it. Focus on “selling” the talents and skills that you know you'd bring to the position.

BE POSITIVE: Interviewers want to hire employees who will be positive contributors to their operations, not complainers. Avoid all negativity when talking about previous employers or your own readiness to assume the responsibilities of the job. 

Article Sources

  1. Glassdoor. "Why Is Hiring Taking Longer?" Accessed March 26, 2020.