25 Things You Should Never Say During a Job Interview

Woman in job interview

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There are some things that you should keep to yourself during a job interview, even if you’re thinking them. Especially when you are nervous from the stress of an interview setting, you may be tempted to reveal too much about any doubts you might have about the position, the employer, or your candidacy.

Be conservative in what you say and share, and keep the focus on your skills and qualifications for the job.

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

If you don’t think you have all the qualifications the employer is seeking, don’t mention this. 

Neither should you reveal that you’re not sure how you’re going to get to work, arrange child care, want to take vacation time already, or feel like the schedule isn’t perfect and you want to work different hours. This isn't the time or the place to share your problems or negotiate work arrangements.

The same is true for how you really feel about your current (or last) employer.

Negativity doesn’t go over well during job interviews. Companies want to hire positive people, not complainers.

A job interview is one of those times when sharing too much information isn't going to help you. In fact, sharing too much could cost you a job offer.

Top 25 Things Never to Say at a Job Interview

Here are 25 things you shouldn’t say during an interview, the red flags they might raise in an employer’s mind, and why not to say them.

  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 boss ever. (Are you going to say that about your new boss if things don’t work out?)
  4. My current company 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, is this going to be over soon? (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 unless you have an emergency.)
  15. Profanity or swear words. (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? (Booze and job interviews don’t mix.)
  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. (Same as 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. What do you do at this company? (You should thoroughly research the company before your interview and be prepared to speak about it.)
  23. What is 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.)
  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 that 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 might 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 would 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.