"In most cases, the best strategy for a job interview is to be fairly honest, because the worst thing that can happen is that you won't get the job and will spend the rest of your life foraging for food in the wilderness and seeking shelter underneath a tree or the awning of a bowling alley that has gone out of business."
― Lemony Snicket
So, finally you are called for a job interview. You have taken care of everything. Your attire is proper, and you arrive on time. You are confident that you will pass the interview with flying colors and be considered for the job offer.
However, don't be so sure. The way you face and answer the questions in an interview will determine the fate of the interview. You may never know, but showing a negative attitude, passing a rude remark, or making an unnecessary statement may upset the potential employer and ruin your chances of getting a good job.
Given below are a few things that you should never say in a job interview.
Inquiring about the Salary Too Early
✦ What It Conveys: It sends a wrong message that you are here for monetary gains and work is secondary.
It's understood that you are eager to know about the perks and benefits that the company has to offer. However, avoid bringing up this subject or avoid asking direct questions about the salary at the very beginning of the interview. Usually, in the first round of the interview only, your expectations will be asked about the salary. In the next rounds, the interviewer may bring up the salary issue and discuss or negotiate as per the company rules and market standards. So, it's best to wait patiently for the discussion to happen.
Using Cliches, Jargon, or Casual and Informal Language
✦ What It Conveys: It projects that you are very casual in your attitude, so the interviewer may not take you seriously.
An interview is a strictly formal conversation, and one should always keep that in mind. Swearing during an interview is a strict no-no. Making obscene comments, using slang words, flirting, or telling jokes should be avoided in an interview. Always remember, you are not with your friends. Making inappropriate comments may display an unprofessional conduct, and surely, your resume will find its way to the recycle bin.
Having Long Conversations and Irrelevant Talk
✦ What It Conveys: You have other things on your mind.
Your only focus at that point of time should be the interview. Do not rant about your day, mention personal problems, or just go on and on about your life. The initial conversation is very important, as it will help you build a rapport with the interviewer. He/she will just want to know about your accomplishments, your educational background, and your area of expertise. Just focus on your professional experience and formal details. Don't provide irrelevant details, which may spoil your chances of getting the job.
Passing Negative Comments about Your Previous Employers
✦ What It Conveys: You will do the same with this company as well. You appear as a person who complains, and it projects you as immature and unprofessional.
Mentioning any negative details about your previous company will not go down well with the interviewer. A background check may reveal further details about your code of conduct and behavior at the previous office. You creating a bad impression or bad mouthing anybody may create an immediate need for a reference check. So, you may as well put it across as creative or opinion differences if you want to. But, keep the answer short, so that it avoids putting you into any sort of trouble.
Not Asking Questions about the Company
✦ What It Conveys: You are not interested in your role and the company you will work for. It is just the money that matters.
When given an opportunity to ask questions, interviewees generally do not ask any queries. In fact, applicants should be equipped with a few queries about the company and job as well. It shows that you are interested and willing to do the job. Be prepared, and go through the company website, so that you know more about them. You can then come up with questions to ask the interviewer.
Being Overly Sweet or Cocky
✦ What It Conveys: You are just trying to impress the interviewer, nothing else.
During the interview, the interviewer might ask you about your future goals and where you see yourself five years down the line. If you come up with something like "I'll be with you for sure!", it might just backfire. Displaying confidence is okay, but being cocky or extra smart might just displease the interviewer.
Saying You Detested Your Earlier Job
✦ What It Conveys: It shows that you can get disinterested in a job easily, which might not come across as a positive sign.
Interviewers are always keen on knowing why you applied for the job. Although you might have hated your earlier job due to whatever reason, never express your hatred. Such feelings should be kept to yourself. Instead, say that the current opportunity is very appealing, and when you reflect on your earlier job, mention what you have learned from it.
Stating that You Don't Possess Any Shortcomings
✦ What It Conveys: It can mean that you are hiding your weakness because all you want to do is only put across the positives in front of the potential employer. He/she is unaware of your problem areas and might doubt you.
When the interviewer wants to know your weaknesses, it is always good to have something to say about it. Sharing a weakness or a mistake and how you turn it from negative to positive will give an opportunity to the employer to know that you have the ability to cope with your shortcomings. However, just make sure that they are not critical for the job.
Asking about a Work-from-home Option
✦ What It Conveys: It questions your work principles and motivation towards the job.
Although you are compounded with personal problems and wish to work from home, save this question for later. Initially, it takes time for every employer to know and trust their employees and dedication towards work. Once you have passed the initial months, you can put in your request to work from home.
Speaking with Arrogance
✦ What It Conveys: It portrays you as someone who has a lot of self-pride and thinks he/she is the "best."
An interview is the time when you should possess quiet confidence. Being boastful and saying something like, "You'll regret if you don't hire me" will not go down well with the employers. Dismissing your previous work experience as not relevant for the current job may put you in bad light, reflecting your arrogance. Instead, let your work experience and achievements speak for itself. Your previous track record is in itself a reflection of how skilled you are.
Some Other Things to Avoid
Inquiring about How Much Vacation is Allotted
✦ What It Conveys: It questions your work ethics, that the job is not important to you, and you may be doing the job just to earn money.
Questioning the number of leaves available even before you have joined will cause the potential employer to perceive you as someone who is not very serious about working and wants to make some quick money. Hence, it is better to ask about a vacation or leaves allotted to employees after you have been offered the job.
Avoid answering your cell phone or sending messages in the midst of the interview. Keep your mobile on silent mode or switch it off during the interview.
Do not make any religious, racial, or political comments.
Don't mention how the job will benefit you or help you. Rather, talk about your skills and expertise. Put forth statements saying how you wish to obtain a good working experience. State career goals. Mention how you are the right candidate for the job.
An interview is the only chance you have to shine and create a good impression. You should be well prepared and cautious about what to say and how to present yourself. Remember, it all depends on the attitude, and the ball is always in the interviewee's court.