What Not To Say In An Interview?Avoid These 17 Things

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

What not to say in an interview? Many job seekers get anxious about interviews. And they wonder what they should say to make a good impression.

What will I learn?

However, knowing what not to say during an interview is just as important.

17 Things Not To Say In An Interview?

Here are some things to avoid saying if you want to make a good impression on your potential employer:

1. Don’t Talk Too Much:

When you’re nervous, it’s easy to start rambling . However, talking too much can make you seem unprofessional and unprepared.

Try to keep your answers concise and to the point. With a little practice, you’ll be able to stay calm and collected during your interview.

For instance, the interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself. So don’t go off on a tangent about your entire life story.

Instead, focus on giving them a brief overview of your relevant experience and skills.

If you’re unsure how to answer a question, take a few moments to collect your thoughts before speaking.

2. Don’t Be Negative:

When you’re in an interview, it’s important to stay positive. This means avoiding negative words and phrases like “I can’t” or “I don’t know.”

Even if you’re asked tough questions, maintain a positive attitude.

Unprofessional  and unprepared - What Not To Say In An Interview

So if there is a particular skill you don’t have, don’t say, “I can’t do that.”

Rather say, “I’m not familiar with that particular software program. But I’m confident I could learn it quickly.”

Or if you’re unsure how to answer a question, say, “That’s a great question. Let me take a minute to think about that.”

3. Avoid Using Filler Words:

When we’re nervous, we often rely on filler words such as “um,” “like,” and “just.” Unfortunately, this can make us sound unprofessional and unsure of ourselves.

If you use filler words, take a deep breath and pause before speaking.

This will help you regain your composure and give you time to think about what you want to say.

And with practice, you’ll be able to break the habit of using filler words altogether.

4. Don’t Badmouth Your Previous Employer:

Avoid badmouthing them during an interview, no matter how much you disliked your previous job or boss.

This will make you look unprofessional and difficult to work with. If you’re asked about a negative experience, focus on the positives.

For example, if you didn’t get along with your previous boss, you could say something like:

“I learned how to handle difficult personalities.” Or “I’m better able to manage my time now because I had to juggle so many tasks at once.”

4 Don’t Bring Up Money:

Money should not be the first thing on your mind during an interview. Instead, the focus should be on whether or not you’re a good fit for the job and if the company is a good fit.

5. Don’t Be Late:

This one seems like a no-brainer. But you’d be surprised how many people show up late to interviews.

It shows that you don’t value the company’s time, and it will likely cost you the job. Generally, you should aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early.

Even if you get stuck in traffic or can’t find parking, do your best to remain calm.

The impression you make during the first few minutes of the interview will set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

6. Don’t Say Sound Bites:

Some make an effort to sound smart or impressive. Thus, some job candidates try to stuff their answers with industry jargon.

But this only makes you sound like you’re trying too hard. The best way to impress your interviewer is to be natural and honest.

Answer the questions as simply and directly as possible. Then, with a little practice, you can learn to sound smart and personable.

7. Don’t Be Too Humble:

On the other hand, don’t try to sell yourself short. Many job seekers are worried about sounding conceited that they downplay their successes.

You may get asked about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a bit.

 Downplay their successes - What Not To Say In An Interview

After all, you’re trying to sell yourself to potential employers. The key is to strike a balance between the two extremes.

You can say, “I’m proud of my accomplishments, but I’m always looking for ways to improve. For example…”

8. Over-Share:

TMI (too much information) is a real thing. You want to present yourself in the best light possible in an interview.

That doesn’t mean you should lie or withhold information. But it also doesn’t mean you should share every gory detail.

For example, you’re asked about a time you had to deal with conflict on the job. Don’t go into detail about how your coworker is the spawn of Satan.

Just give a brief overview of the situation and how you handled it.

9. Don’t Use “I” Much:

This is a very simple, but it’s amazing how often people say “I” in an interview.

It’s perfectly fine to use first-person pronouns occasionally, but try to limit yourself.

Don’t say, “I did this” or “I accomplished that.” Instead, focus on the task at hand and use phrases like “the project required,” “it was necessary,” or “the goal was.”

It sounds much more impressive. And it’s not about you; it’s about your team’s accomplishments.

That said, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.

If you spearheaded a project or took on extra responsibility, ensure the interviewer knows about it.

Just remember to do it in a way that doesn’t make you sound like an egomaniac.

10. “To Be Honest”:

This phrase has no place in an interview. You should always be honest in an interview, so there’s no need to preface your answers with this phrase.

Using this phrase can make you sound like you’re only sometimes truthful.

Some interviewers may even interpret it as a sign that you’re about to lie.

For instance, let’s say you’re asked about a time you made a mistake at work.

You could say, “To be honest, I made a mistake on that project, and it cost the company money.”

Or you could say, “I made a mistake on that project, and it cost the company money.”

The second answer is much more straightforward. And it doesn’t make you sound like you’re trying to cover something up.

11. Don’t Get Nervousness Take Over You:

Nervousness is another feeling that can come across as untrustworthiness. If you’re too nervous, you might start to sweat.

Your voice might shake. You might even stutter. All these things can make it seem like you need more confidence in your words. Or that you need to tell the truth.

The key is to stay calm. Take a few deep breaths before the interview. And if you start to feel nervous during the interview, take a moment to pause and collect yourself.

12. Don’t Forget To Create A Connection:

If you want the interviewer to trust you, it’s important to create a connection with them. Talk to them like you would a friend.

Make eye contact and smile. Show that you’re interested in what they have to say.

Create  a connection

And most importantly, be yourself. The more genuine you are, the more likely the interviewer will trust you.

With a powerful first impression, the interview will go much smoother. And you’ll be one step closer to getting the job.

13. Avoid Personal Questions:

Personal questions are those that pertain to your private life. For example, they may include your marital status, health, religious , or political views.

You should discuss these during an interview if the interviewer brings them up first.

Avoid giving the impression that you’re uncomfortable discussing specific aspects of your life.

14. Don’t Talk Too Loud Or Too Quiet:

Modulating your voice is important during an interview. You don’t want to come across as either too shy or cocky.

Find a happy medium between the two extremes, and make sure you speak clearly.

For instance, avoid mumbling your words or speaking too quickly. With a little practice, you should find the right balance.

15. Don’t Bring Up Money:

Discussing salary, benefits, or vacation time during an interview. These topics should be for after you’ve got the job offer.

For instance, you don’t want to seem more interested in the money than the actual position.

So don’t say, “How much vacation time do I get?” Instead, ask questions about the company culture or the team you’ll be working with.

16. Don’t Get Hung Up On The Past:

Your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about every single job you’ve ever had. So, focus on your experience and skills relevant to the position you’re applying for.

For instance, you’re applying for a job as a web developer. There’s no need to mention that time you worked as a cashier in high school.

Experience and skills

Or you’re applying for a job as a salesperson. There’s no need to bring up the time you spent working in customer service.

The key is to focus on the present and the future, not the past.

17. Don’t Make Excuses:

If you ever got fired from a job, it can be tempting to make excuses for why it happened. But making excuses will only make you look bad.

Even if you got fired for a valid reason, it’s best to keep that to yourself. It may be downsizing or company restructuring

The last thing you want is for your interviewer to think you’re a troublemaker.

With that said, there are some exceptions. For example, you’re asked about a gap in your employment history.

It’s acceptable to explain that you took time off to raise your children or care for a sick relative. Just be honest and upfront about it.

Final Word:

So what not to say in an interview? Avoid making excuses, badmouthing your previous boss or company, and being late.

Be positive, be enthusiastic, and do your best to sell yourself. If you do that, you’re sure to ace the interview.

And when in doubt, always err on the side of caution. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Last Updated on 5 months by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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