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5 Dangerous Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview - Interview Blunders

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

5 Things to never say in an Interview.

Can you tell me the top 5 things you should never say in an interview?

Today we have an essential topic to discuss that can make or break your interview. We all recognize the importance of saying the right thing and highlighting our skills and expertise. However, it's just as crucial to understand what we should avoid saying during an interview because certain statements can instantly raise red flags in the eyes of potential employers, ultimately deciding not to consider you despite your strengths and qualifications.

  1. "I actually want to do something else."

This is probably the least favorite thing an interviewer wants to hear. But it comes up surprisingly often. Of course, no one will say it directly like this, but it comes up during the discussion, especially when answering questions such as "What are your career goals?" or "What are you passionate about?" or "Where do you see yourself in x number of years?"

And if we are not careful, we may respond in a way that can mislead the interviewer to believe what we "truly" want to do (our "real" career goal) is something other than the role we are interviewing for.

You have to recognize that misunderstanding happens all the time during an interview. Why is that? It's because the vast majority of the time, an interview is a meeting between two strangers who have never met and are speaking for the first time. Misunderstanding is bound to happen.

I have seen too many candidates (more I'd care to know) who are absolutely interested in the position they're interviewing for but happen to mention some other type of work they MIGHT want to try DOWN THE LINE, and, the interviewer thinking that the candidate is actually not genuinely keen. And as a result, they decide that the person is not the right fit because his/her motivation is misaligned.

You do not want to say anything that could even remotely suggest that what you actually want to do deep inside is something else. Make it absolutely clear that you're 100% keen on the opportunity you're interviewing for by not saying anything that could be misconstrued as otherwise.

  1. Badmouthing the previous employer

Most people know that it's not a good idea to badmouth their past employer. However, sometimes, candidates feel that they need to speak negatively about their previous firms to explain why they left them, especially if they were a negative experience.

It's completely understandable, but it still is a bad idea, and it will not help your candidacy for reasons such as follows:

  1. It creates a negative vibe.

  2. It may seem unprofessional or immature to talk negatively behind someone's back.

  3. The potential employer may wonder if there is a pattern of complaining or shifting the blame

  4. And they may worry that you will talk negatively about them when you leave them.

The key is making it not personal and staying well away from blaming the past employer or manager.

Instead, you want to keep it neutral, describe the challenges and the effort you made to resolve and overcome them, the lessons you learned, and how you are a better person as a result.

This will help you come across as someone who is mature, able to take responsibility and work well with people - a much more desirable first impression.

  1. "I'm just exploring my options."

Another way of saying this is, "I'm just trying to see what's available in the market."

Some people feel it's a good idea to play "hard to get" to make the company want them more. The only problem (and a significant problem) is that the interview stage is just not the right time to do that.

During the interview stage, the potential employer is not yet convinced you're the right person for the role. They are still trying to find out and know more about you. And when they hear a message like "I'm just exploring my options," it will only create doubt in their mind whether you're truly interested in the role or even want to join the company.

And no employer or hiring manager wants to hire someone they believe is not genuinely keen on their position.

The right time to negotiate and make the employer feel like they have to work hard to get you is AFTER you pass all the interviews and the employer is convinced you are the ideal person for the job. By then, they will be much more willing to make an effort in order to have you. But you do not want to do this DURING the interview process when the employer isn't even sure if you're qualified - you know what I mean?

Also, when you say you're "just exploring," it might make you seem unsure what you want or where you're headed in your job search. Employers want to hire people who are focused, driven, and clear about what they want to do.

Using uncertain or non-committal phrases can make you come across as someone who isn't fully dedicated to the role or who might be keeping an eye out for other opportunities even while on the job.

  1. "I don't have any questions."

When you say you do not have any questions at the end of the interview, you're essentially communicating one of 3 things (or at least that's how the employer will think).

  1. You do not care about the company or the role enough

  2. Or you haven't done much research about the firm and haven't prepared any questions beforehand

  3. Or you are just not a curious person who wants to learn more

All of which is not the kind of impression you want to leave for obvious reasons.

Always prepare questions beforehand. And don't just have 1 or 2 ready because chances are those questions may be covered during the meeting, and you will have nothing left to ask anymore. I would suggest preparing around 3-5 questions before each interview.

If you feel that you have no idea what to ask, I created a video about a question that you can always raise in pretty much any meeting. Make sure to check it out here.

  1. "What does your company do, again?"

This is another terrible thing to say. Of course, we won't say it directly (at least i hope not). But we convey this when we have little to no understanding about the employer and their main businesses.

In other words, if you are not aware of their core products or you're unable to discuss intelligently during the meeting, if we aren't aware of any recent major news about the firm, or do not know anything about their history, values, leadership, etc., we are essentially communicating, "What do you do, again?"

You get the idea.

Before stepping into the interview, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of the company and its core business. This includes knowing their main products, services, market share, and even some key initiatives. By demonstrating your knowledge and intelligence about their business, you showcase your intelligence, preparation, and genuine commitment to the role.

Also, researching the company beforehand allows you to tailor your answers to align with their goals and values and intelligently discuss how your skills & experience can contribute to their specific needs and challenges.

It will help you engage in more meaningful conversations during the interview and make a strong impression which is precisely what you want to achieve in your job search.

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