14 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview (and What to Say Instead)

Preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking. Strong candidates will research the potential employer, study the job description, and think about the things they really want to say to the interview panel. But what about those things you should never say in a job interview?

There are a surprising number of red flags you can raise with the wrong statement, even if your intentions are good. Try to be confident and you might come across arrogant. Say something enthusiastic and you might seem too needy. Give the perfect answer and it might seem rehearsed.

Your interviewers are seeing people in your position all day long. What should you avoid saying to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes the others did?

One common mistake is to try too hard to be accommodating. Sure, this might not be your dream job. But employers want to see passion.

So never say “I’ll do whatever!” – it sounds like you don’t care much about the specifics of the job. Instead, be clear that this is the exact job you’ve been looking for, and use the job description to identify some particularly juicy tasks that you’re excited about in advance.

There are a few questions that come up in nearly every job interview, giving you the chance to work out a good answer in advance. Unfortunately, most people don’t bother; they think of something simple and clever-sounding (or make it up on the spot). Employers have heard it all before.

The best answer you can give is one that’s unique to you.

When asked what your biggest weakness is, don’t go with ‘perfectionism,’ ‘stubbornness,’ or ‘honesty.’ Instead, think of a genuine weakness that you’ve worked on, and describe both the problem and what you’ve done to outgrow it.

And when asked if you have any questions in return, don’t say “no” or ask about the perks of the job. Think in advance of something that makes you genuinely curious: a detail in the company history, current business challenges the team is facing, or how they approach a certain aspect of the work that interests you.

To help you avoid these easily-made mistakes, my friends at resume.io have created a visual guide highlighting 14 phrases to avoid. They also figured out some better answers to use instead – although the best answer will always come with your own personal twist of originality.


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