17 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Interviews are an opportunity for both employees and employers to learn more about each other. However, as a jobseeker, one wrong move can take away that dream job. Here are 17 things you should avoid saying or asking during a job interview.

“I don’t really know anything about this company”

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This statement creates a negative impression and it shows a lack of preparation and enthusiasm for the opportunity. Interviewers want candidates who are genuinely interested in the company and the role. Researching the company beforehand shows your interest in the job and the company.

“I need this job.”

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Focusing on your needs can shift the focus away from your value proposition. The interview is a two-way street. You’re evaluating the company as much as they’re evaluating you. Instead, highlight the skills and experience you bring. Or how you can contribute to the company’s growth.

“My last boss was a nightmare”

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Complaining about previous employers casts a shadow over your professionalism. It raises concerns about your ability to handle conflict. They might also feel you are incapable of maintaining positive working relationships. Focus on the positive aspects of your past experiences and the skills you gained from them.

“I’m not sure if I’m qualified for this position”

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This statement undermines your confidence. It is most likely that the interviewer will start questioning your suitability. Even if unsure about certain aspects, handle it with grace. Showcase your transferable skills and willingness to learn. Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity and highlight areas where you can contribute.

“What’s the salary?”

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Compensation is important, but bringing it up too early in the interview can make you seem focused on money over the role itself. It’s better to wait until the interviewer brings it up. Best if you discuss it after they’ve expressed their interest in you as a candidate. This shows your primary concern is the opportunity and the company fit.

“I’m not familiar with that software.”

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Admitting a lack of experience with specific software can be risky, but it depends on the context. If the software is essential to the job and you have no prior experience, it might be a dealbreaker. You can express your willingness to get up to speed quickly if given the opportunity.

“I don’t have any questions.”

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This response shows a lack of interest or initiative. Having well-researched questions prepared for the interviewer demonstrates your curiosity and engagement. Questions about the role, company culture, or the team you’d be working with. It shows you’ve put thought into the opportunity.

“When can I start?”

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Enthusiasm is great, but asking this question too early can be presumptuous. The interviewer will address the start date when they’re ready. Wait until they express their interest in you, and the interview process progresses before bringing up start dates.

“I have a lot going on in my personal life right now”

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It’s understandable that you might have personal challenges and ups and downs. However, sharing them in an interview can seem like a red flag to the interviewer. They might worry that your personal issues could affect your ability to focus on the job. Hence, focusing on your professional qualifications and why you’d be a great fit for the role is best.

“I’m not a team player”

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This statement is a red flag for most employers. Many workplaces rely on teamwork to get things done. If you’re not a team player, collaborating with colleagues and achieving common goals could be difficult. Instead, highlight your teamwork skills and experiences where you’ve successfully collaborated with others.

“What are the benefits I get?”

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We understand that the benefits are an important part of the compensation package. Yet, it’s best to wait until you’re in the later stages of the interview process to bring it up. The interviewer might assume that you are more concerned with money than the role itself.

“I can’t work weekends or evenings”

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In some industries, working outside of regular business hours is sometimes expected. You might not want to rule out any flexibility completely but try to be more diplomatic in your response. Mention your preferred work schedule and explain why it works best for you. You can also express your willingness to be flexible when needed.

“I’m not sure what my salary expectations are”

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It’s best to go into an interview with a ballpark range in mind for salary expectations. This shows you’ve done your research and know your worth. Doing research beforehand on average salaries for the position and location will be beneficial for you, too. You’d be able to know if you’re paid fairly.

“I’m not interested in the benefits package”

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Most employers offer a benefits package that can include extra benefits. This includes health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings plans. Benefits can be a significant part of your total compensation package. Even if you already have health insurance elsewhere, don’t downplay the importance of benefits. It can make you seem ungrateful or unenthusiastic about the opportunity.

“I need childcare/ transportation sorted”

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Sharing these personal needs in the interview can raise concerns for the interviewer. They might worry that these issues could interfere with your ability to be reliable and meet work expectations. It’s best to focus on your qualifications and how you can be a great asset to the company.

“Can we reschedule the interview?”

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Not being flexible about the interview schedule can make you seem difficult to work with. It might also come off as you are not that interested in the job. Hence, try your best to accommodate it on the date proposed by HR. If it’s absolutely impossible, explain the reason and offer alternative times.

“What’s the policy on dating co-workers?”

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The interview is your chance to showcase your skills and qualifications for the job. This question shifts the focus from your professional capabilities to your personal life. It can make you seem more interested in potential workplace relationships than the job itself. Plus, the company policies on workplace relationships can often be found online or in the employee handbook. Thus, it can seem like an unnecessary and awkward question to ask at an interview.

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