A Career Expert Reveals 7 Things to Avoid During Job Interviews30.11.2021
Job interviews rank right up there with scrubbing the bathtub grout and visiting the dentist on the “things we dread”. It doesn’t matter if we are applying for the dream job or the job that will pay the bills, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stumble through interviews. What if we ask the wrong question? What if we make an unprofessional impression? What if there is spinach in our teeth.
Vicki Salemi, Monster’s career expert, was available to help us understand what to avoid. Here are seven things you should stop saying in job interviews.
#1 Do not say “I have no questions”
Even if the company is familiar to you–you have purchased their products, received their newsletters, etc.–you need to be prepared with some questions so that the interviewer can see you are as interested as you claim. Salemi says, “Saying that you don’t have questions demonstrates to interviewers that you don’t care about the job or you’re lazy. Or, most importantly, that you didn’t prepare.”
Instead, conduct research before the interview
You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes-like and bring all the business records. However, you must have enough knowledge to show interest in the brand.
Salemi advises that you look at the social media accounts of companies you are interviewing. Do a quick Google search and look at their newsroom. Ask at least two to three questions about your role, the company, or something you’ve read. As a job seeker, the whole point of asking questions is to learn more about them.
#2 Do not say “My previous boss was toxic”
While you may not be happy with your former or current employer, if you say anything negative about them to a potential boss, it raises questions about your professionalism. Salemi says, “It just displays bad form.” “The employer who is interviewing you might start to wonder whether you will eventually speak poorly of them or their company.”
Instead, remain factual and don’t make anyone feel guilty
Salemi says, “If asked a behavioral question such as, “Name a time when you had to deal with a difficult person,” focus on your selling skills and how you rose above the situation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your boss. When you are asked why you would like to leave your company, you can not say that you had a toxic boss. You can simply say that you’ve learned everything in this job, and that I’m growth-oriented. That’s it.
#3 Do not say “How did I do?”
Most of us won’t leave an interview feeling that we have mastered it. But, asking for immediate feedback could indicate a lack confidence. Salemi says that the person who is interviewing you, which may be your potential boss, might assume that you are always looking for immediate feedback about the job. Translation: Nobody wants to hire someone who will need constant support.
Instead, say “What are the next steps?”
What you want to know when you ask “How did you do?” is whether they consider you a viable candidate. Instead of being needy and imposing your needs on others, it’s better to ask for the next steps so that you can adjust expectations. Salemi advises that you leave it open-ended, and assume that you did well. It’s normal to wonder how you did in an interview, but it is important to stay present. You should be focusing on the next step and not what you might have missed.
It’s fine to request feedback after being rejected. Sometimes, it’s not about your qualifications. It could be due to other factors (e.g., the company might have hired from within or put the job on hold). You can ask the interviewer for a second opinion and to consider your application for similar jobs in the future.
#4 Do not say, “This is a great step stone for my next career”
New grads, listen up. It’s great for you to be career-oriented and many entry-level jobs can help you get into the field you want to pursue. A potential employer might be wary of hiring someone with their sights elsewhere. They must know that you will perform at the highest level in their company.
Salemi explained that you want to convince your employer that this role is one you are looking to grow in longevity. “You don’t want to say, “I’m only going to stay here because I want this on the resume.”
Instead, you can say: “What is the growth opportunity in this role?”
Employers want to feel that you can rely on them to do their best for the company. It is important to make that impression. Keep your eyes on the job at hand, and inquire about promotions and the skills and experience that will help you succeed.
#5 Do not say “How much time will you have?”
It all comes down to timing and how you frame your question. Many employers are now trying to find the right balance between working remotely and in the office after the pandemic. Mental health is being given more attention. It’s not impossible to ask for PTO but you should be strategic. Salemi says, “If you ask your boss [about PTO] your first interaction, it might come across as if you don’t care about working.”
Instead, say “Do you have a benefit sheet?”
As the hiring process progresses, it is likely that PTO will be a topic. If you are working with a recruiter it is okay to ask about the company’s benefits. You’ll find information about flexible WFH arrangements, health insurance, and any other perks that the company may offer.
#6 Do not say, “How much does this job make?”
You want to ensure that you are getting paid what you deserve, but asking for salary information is just as important as PTO. “People want to respect each other’s time. An employer won’t want to wait until the end of an interview to find out that the salary offered is too low for the job seeker.
Instead, say “My salary range for this position is X. What’s the salary range for this job?”
It’s crucial to have a salary conversation with potential employers as soon as possible. However, instead of giving a specific number, offer a range. Salemi advises that you keep the conversation high-level, broad, and get the employer to give a range of numbers. An employer will want to ensure you are not going over theirs. They don’t want you to waste time with one candidate if you’re not on the same page.
#7 Do not say, “What is the role of this company?”
Although it may seem obvious to avoid this faux pas, sometimes big companies contact you last-minute and ask for an interview. First instinct is to say yes. It’s tempting to say yes, but unless you are at home and have the right mindset for the interview, it’s better to wait until a more convenient moment.
Instead, say “I would love to talk with you but I’m busy right now. Could we set up a time to talk about the role?”
“Preparation is key, no matter how many interviews you have or how long they last. This includes your mental state.” Salemi stated that you don’t want your guard down.
You may have applied for different jobs within the same company. If you aren’t sure, ask them in a way that doesn’t make you look stupid. You could say, “I am interested in your company and, if I remember correctly, I have applied for several jobs. What job title do you want?”
Salemi recommends creating a Word document that contains the job descriptions for each of the positions you’ve applied for. This way, even if an employer takes the job posting off their website, you will still be able to access it. A running document can be useful because it allows you to change the order of your resume depending on what an employer wants. Hiring managers will list the most important skills and experience they are looking for. You’ll be prepared even if they don’t reach you until months later.