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5 Things Not to Say During an Interview

Updated on July 24, 2007
Follow these 5 don'ts to keep yourself from getting squashed during a job interview
Follow these 5 don'ts to keep yourself from getting squashed during a job interview

Most people know the basics of a good job interview -- dress professionally, sit up straight, give the interviewer a firm handshake, be confident, outgoing and friendly, highlight your expertise and ask a lot of questions about the position. But what about what not to say? You can say a thousand right things but one misstep, one wrong move, and the interview is blown. Here are five things you definitely should not mention during an interview.

1.) Answer, "I don't have any" or "I'm a perfectionist" when asked to name one of your flaws. Despite being an extremely common response, perfectionism is not a flaw and everyone will know you're lying if you try to pretend like it is. Being a perfectionist is a more of a positive than a negative and mentioning it should not be used as a substitute because you're afraid to divulge a real flaw. That said, supply a negative that can also be viewed as a positive. For example, that you've been working on your delegating skills or your ability to trust others with major tasks rather than doing everything yourself.

2.) Bad mouth your previous boss/co-workers/place of employment. If you talk smack about your former employer, what's to keep your potential employer from thinking you'll do the same to them? Companies expect loyalty and discretion from their employees, even after your business relationship ends. Even if you left due to some real or perceived wrong and have every right in the world to bash the company, vent your rage to sympathetic friends -- not your new manager.

3.) Use slang or profanity. Nothing is worse than a string of filth streaming from the mouth of an otherwise attractive individual. Even if the interviewer is "just" an HR person, he or she is still a representative of the company and should be treated with respect the same way you would talk to the owner or CEO. Your speech should be polished and responsible, and there is absolutely no reason to use profanity during an interview; doing so shows that you aren't intelligent enough to find other words to express strong feelings.

4.) Answer "No, not really" when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. This is a really bad move that says to the interviewer, "No, I don't really care enough to inquire more about the position." Even if the interview was thorough and all the questions you had were already answered during the course of the meeting, make up new ones. Ask about the history of the company, when and were it was founded, what type of health insurance they offer, etc. It also reveals whether or not you have done any background research on the place. A great response to this open-ended question is, "Well, I know Ashley Furniture sells a good deal of easy to clean microfiber sofas, but do they offer additional Guardsman protection plans on top of that?"

5.) Bring up personal problems. Maybe you're going through a divorce or your son keeps getting arrested or your ex-girlfriend won't stop stalking you. That all sucks, but is something that should be dealt with on your own time, not company time. It is highly inappropriate to mention personal issues during an interview. If the interviewer aks you a question and you stumble while answering, don't excuse yourself by saying, "I'm sorry, I'm just a little distracted today. My son got arrested last night for posession of marijuana, and I have to go bail him out of jail when I leave here." Keep the focus on the job -- and ONLY on the job.

How (Not) to Conduct a Job Interview



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      "Perfect" 4 years ago

      Except...perfectionists and high achievers are NOT the same. They're not interchangeable terms, like most people think. Being a high achiever is absolutely a positive, a person who takes pride in there work and is content with knowing they've done their best. Being a perfectionist is very much a negative. Nothing is ever "good enough". My perfectionism feeds into procrastination because if I can't do something exactly as I want it, I don't want to do it at all. When I do endeavor to complete a task and it falls short of my expectations, I tend to mull over it to the point where it's all I can focus on, my perceived "failure". I get depressed about it. I do so much research on the details of a project that the overall point gets lost in the shuffle. I remember the first B I received in school. I cried.

      Being an over achiever is aiming for the moon and being content to land among the stars. Being a perfectionist is literally wanting to kill yourself because you missed the bloody moon. So yes, cliché answer and I'll never give it again since it's a joke, but dammit I'm tired of being made to feel like a liar when I mention it.

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      Weida 5 years ago

      that's good advices. I may put a link of your site to my blog:

      I hope this information would be removed for time being.

    • ChristineRitter profile image

      ChristineRitter 10 years ago from Ohio

      Great Hub ! Hahahahahaha....that video is too funny !