Does it feel like every interview is a game of chess? Though you may not always have the perfect answer to every question, there are some general things you should always avoid saying during the interview process. Being prepared to respond to interview questions thoughtfully and professionally will allow you to make the best impression when meeting with employers for the first time.
As you gear up for future interviews, here are some things to avoid saying at all costs:
“I hated my last job.”
Though you may be filled with hatred and resentment from your former employment experience, expressing feelings of disgust will be a sure turn-off to any future employer. No matter how much angst you may carry from your past position, it’s best to leave negativity in the past and bring forward a positive mindset during interviews. A negative response will elicit the idea that you’re not a loyal or committed employee, and quick to badmouth former bosses. This can also indicate a poor attitude towards working in general, which can quickly turn off employers and result in no call-backs for second interviews. No matter how tempting it may be to bash a prior job or boss, always refrain from being negative. Instead, consider focusing on what you may have learned from past employment and how it helped you grow in your career.
“I don’t have any weaknesses.”
The age-old question of “What are your weaknesses?” can often catch even the most seasoned interviewees off guard. Though this tends to be a sticky question, answering in an authentic and meaningful way is key. Being prepared to discuss a weakness will show you’re committed to your professional and personal growth and capable of taking constructive feedback. Reflecting on areas in which you’ve improved over the past couple years will help you develop the best response to this question. For instance, do you struggle with time management? Sharing this as a weakness – and explaining how you continue to work on managing your time – will show employers you take your professional development seriously and are willing to work on yourself.
“I applied to your company because I need a job.”
When questioned as to why you decided to apply to the position, it’s important to go beyond your need for a job itself when responding. Rather than simply stating you need a job or paycheck, this question presents the opportunity for you to demonstrate interest and show you’ve taken the time to research and educate yourself about what the employer has to offer. For example, if the company’s culture appeals to you, you may explain how you’d be a fit for the workplace and would mesh well with the team. Or, if you believe the company offers ample professional growth opportunities, you may explain the position aligns with your career goals and would allow you to advance your skills in your industry. By personalizing your response, you’ll illustrate a strong desire to be part of the company’s mission, which will in turn help you stand out from others in the talent pool.
“I’d rather work on my own rather than with others.”
When asked if you enjoy working with others, or anything related to being a team player, remember that employers are seeking individuals with strong interpersonal abilities. Regardless of your personal work preferences, embracing collaboration and teamwork will always be paramount in showing employers you’re committed to working with others to accomplish common goals in the best interest of the company. Providing examples of how you’ve worked in a team setting in past jobs will enhance your response, showing you have the soft skills required to work with colleagues on projects and assignments. Furthermore, it’s best to never talk poorly about former colleagues, as this may indicate to employers that you’re quick to cause drama in the workplace or neglect others’ feelings or opinions. Having an open mind and an inclusive attitude toward working with a team can be extremely impactful for not just landing a new job, but being successful in the long-term.
“You should hire me because I’m a hard worker.”
Almost every employee classifies themselves as a hard worker, but keep in mind this is subjective. When asked by an employer why they should hire you, mentioning specific traits, qualifications, or career aspirations will be far more compelling than simply stating a couple general adjectives about yourself. Before any interview, write down a few reasons why you believe the position is the right fit for you personally. This will help you identify specifically how you can showcase yourself as the best candidate for the job.
Though interview questions are hard to predict, remembering that you have full control over your responses is essential to your performance. By being mindful of what types of responses to avoid, you’ll set yourself up for better interview experiences moving forward.
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Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.