In an interview, your primary objectives are to engage in conversation with the interviewer and set yourself apart from other potential candidates. Before an interview, it’s a smart idea to re-read your resume, practice your “about me” speech, and brush up on your formal conversation skills. While it may seem as though there isn’t much else to review, knowing what not to say can be just as beneficial. To better prepare for an upcoming interview, here are a few phrases that can raise major red flags for hiring managers:
“It’s on my resume”
It’s very likely that one of the first questions you will be asked in an interview will relate to information already on your resume. With that being said, an inability to elaborate on your experience and skills from memory has the potential to make you appear as though you haven’t adequately prepared. To avoid this faux pas, brainstorm a few sentences to say about each of your skills and past jobs prior to your interview. This way, when your interviewer brings up points of interest from your resume, you’ll have some context to add.
“I don’t have any further questions”
Although your hiring manager should have given you a detailed overview of both the company and role, it’s important to conclude an interview by asking questions. By not asking questions, you’re not only conveying poor communication skills but a possible disinterest in the role as well. Before arriving at your next interview, be sure to have a few thoughtful and relevant questions in your back pocket such as:
- How would you describe the company culture?
- What constitutes success in this position?
- What is the next big project or goal for the company?
“I didn’t like my last boss”
This one is a major turn off to hiring managers for many reasons. Saying this in an interview not only illustrates that you’ve had interpersonal issues at your last place of work, but that you’re also willing to speak negatively about your colleagues. For that reason, it’s best to avoid bringing this up all together. Instead, focus on the positive reasons you’re looking to make a change. If you’re seeking this position in favor of a new environment, discuss how the skills you’ve learned or polished at your current job can help you to succeed in the role you’re interviewing for.
“My greatest weakness is being a perfectionist”
To better assess your fit as a candidate, a hiring manager might ask about your biggest professional weakness, and believe it or not, they’re looking for the truth. Your answer to this question holds a lot of weight, so utilizing a clichéd answer like “I’m a perfectionist” communicates to an interviewer that you haven’t taken the time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. To avoid appearing insincere, pinpoint what your workplace weakness is and tell a quick story as to how you’ve worked to overcome it. This way, your hiring manager will see you as a self-reflective individual who is proactively making a positive change.