Interviews are never scripted, which means that a range of topics could come up and catch you unawares during an interview. We understand that you will not be able to have a rehearsed answer to every question, there are however a few things that you should avoid saying or talking about.
Remember that even when your interviewer says there is no wrong answer, there really are some wrong answers you may want to leave unsaid and a few questions you should refrain from asking. Here are a few of these interview “no-no”s.
- “It’s on my resume”
Yes, your interviewer already saw your resume, it’s why you were called in for an interview in the first place remember? Chances are, if your interviewer is asking you about something you listed on your resume, they want more details, do yourself a favor and provide details eloquently. This is why we would advise that you only put information you can defend on your resume (This is Resume 101, to be honest). Never refer your interviewer to your resume.
An interview is not the place for casual conversation and so words like “stuff” should not be included in your vocabulary. When you’re asked about work you did, do not say things like “I did ‘this’, ‘that’ and other stuff”. ‘Stuff’ here is vague and means you may not really know much about the subject matter. Again, only include information you can expatiate on in your resume.
- Anything negative about your previous job or boss
No matter how terrible your previous working conditions were, avoid talking about it during your interview. You may be asked why you want to leave your previous job, there is no need to badmouth your former boss or company, you can just say you are looking for a new learning opportunity or something to that effect. Negative comments from you will insinuate that you are one to hold grudges and may one day also badmouth this company if something does not go your way.
- “I don’t know” or “Nothing”
“I don’t know” should never be your immediate answer to any question during an interview. Even when you truly do not know, take your time to mull over the question, you can even repeat the question to the interview for clarity after which you can then admit to having no idea. The point is to first think about the question and not come across as someone who rushes to conclusions. Also, your answer to a question like, “Why do you want to leave your present job?” or “What did you do during so-so and so period?” should not be ‘nothing’. You want to come off as a proactive individual and so saying you did nothing or have no reason for making a decision does not look good.
- No questions
Every interview ends with your interviewer asking if you ask any questions for them. This is once again an opportunity for the employer to assess you and is therefore not the time for you to not have any questions. This is something you should have rehearsed before the interview because it is the one thing that will surely come up. You can work on one or two questions based on what you found after doing research on the company, there are however some questions you should never ask and we have enumerated some of them here. “No questions” is however not an option.
- Anything that implies you are a flight risk
One of the top qualities employers look out for in candidates in commitment, you therefore do not want to say anything that brings your level of commitment to the job into question. You may be someone with a short attention span who jumps from one job to the next, avoid talking about how you get bored very easily or anything in that line. You also want to avoid showing off your entrepreneurial aspirations. Companies want to hire someone who shows a readiness to stick with them for a while and not one looking to earn a few bucks and jump ship. Try to keep your answers tailored to your willingness to be committed to doing a great job if hired; here are a few tips to answering interview questions about your future plans.