In an interview, your primary goal is to get across to the hiring manager why you—above all the other candidates—are the right person for the job. That you have the right set of skills, a great personality, and the drive to really make things happen in your new role.
But as you’re preparing answers to interview questions that’ll let you do all of those things, it’s equally important to know what the hiring manager will consider a red flag. After all, a wrong move or two, and it won’t matter how great your sales numbers at your last job were.
To help you out, steer clear of these messages. You’ll make sure that your awesome abilities and accomplishments—not a totally avoidable faux pas—will be what your interviewer remembers.
1. “So, Tell Me What You Do Around Here”
Rule #1 of interviewing: Do your research. You never want to walk into an interview knowing next to nothing about the position or company—you want to show that you’re excited enough that you’ve done some homework and thought about how you’d fit in.
2. “Ugh, My Last Company…”
No matter how bad a job was, you never, ever want to badmouth a former employer in an interview. Keep your tone somewhere between neutral and positive, focusing on what you’ve learned from each experience and what you’re hoping to do in the future. This especially applies when you’re talking about why you’re leaving.
3. “I Didn’t Get Along With My Boss”
Similarly, you don’t want to speak negatively about anyone you’ve worked with in the past. Even if a previous manager could put the characters in Horrible Bosses to shame, your interviewer doesn’t know that—and could wonder whether you’re the difficult one to work with.
4. “I’m Really Nervous”
Even if you’re more nervous than you’ve ever been, no company wants to hire someone who lacks confidence. “So, in this case, honesty is not the best policy,”
5. “I’ll Do Whatever”
Most hiring managers are looking for people who are incredibly passionate about the role they’re taking on. So when you say something to the effect of, “I don’t care what jobs you have available—I’ll do anything!” that’s a big red flag. Instead, target your search to a specific role at each company, and be ready to explain why it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
6. “I Know I Don’t Have Much Experience, But…”
This mistake is easy to make, especially if you’re a recent grad or career changer. Problem is, when you apologize for experience you don’t have, you’re essentially saying that you’re not a great hire, that you’re not quite the right fit for the role, or even that you would be starting from square one. And that’s just not the case! Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, stay positive, focus on your strengths, and immediately launch into your transferable skills and infectious enthusiasm for the position.