If you’ve ever been in the hot seat and participated in an interview with an employer, then you have probably experienced that “stare off into space” mode after they ask you a tough question. “What in the world am I going to say?” There’s plenty of right answers and even more wrong ones. Before you put yourself into a frenzy though stressing over how best to answer these questions, perhaps you should take a look at some of the things you definitely shouldn’t say. Here are 5 interview answers you don’t want to give.
1. “My coworker’s weakness are…”
If asked to share your greatest strength, answer the question directly, not by pointing out someone else’s flaws. Doing so is perceived as you putting down others rather than focusing on the question or taking responsibility for yourself.
2. “I’m suing my past employer…”
Sometimes I hear horror stories that a candidate shared during an interview when answering their reason for leaving a past job that they are suing a previous employer. Doing this, and especially sharing that you’re doing it, will raise huge red flags that you may do this to the interviewing employer. Consider your candidacy sunk if you make this error.
3. “I will not work for less than $X.”
Always try to make the employer state any wage or salary expectation first. If asked what pay you are seeking, skirt the issue by saying something like, “I am open to negotiation” or “I feel that the responsibility of this position warrants a pay range of $X-X”. Giving a specific number might shoot you at the knees if the employer was willing to offer more, or you might make them think you’re unaffordable when you might really be flexible.
4. “I cannot work under X conditions.”
I recently had a candidate lose an offer because she commented on how organized she is (a plus), but that because of it she absolutely cannot stand to work in messy spaces. She was not aware that the interviewer was an admittedly messy person. The interviewer was offended and chose a candidate who did not put their foot in their mouth.
5. “I need X amount more money because I’m commuting.”
If you get so far as to speak in terms of justifying a salary request or negotiating an amount, do not bring up a commute as justification for more money. Your choice to live where you do is not a decision your employer should be asked to compensate. From their perspective, you should want to work for them badly enough to move if your home location is a big problem.
Have you ever made one of these interview mistakes? It happens to the best of us! Tell us about it in the comments section below.
IMAGE: Courtesy of TNooz