Top 5 Worst Things to Say in a Job Interview

By Gina Beckman

Anyone who has sat through a job interview knows that there are a million ways to singlehandedly sink the job offer ship. While other unfortunate factors have been known to eliminate job candidates from the running (like chewing gum, burping, checking texts or being covered in cat hair), many interview fails are due to what can only be considered really stupid answers. Maybe stupid is too harsh; nah, it’s about right.

The Top 5 Worst Things to Say in a Job Interview:

  1. “I hate my old boss.” While some former employers might deserve your contempt, stating so in a job interview shows poor judgment and a general lack of tact on your part. A better way to address the topic if asked is to focus on the positive. “I learned a lot in that position and really honed my communication skills in a sometimes challenging environment, so I consider my time there as a very positive experience.
  2. “My family is my top priority.” Let’s make this clear, except for total jerks, everyone’s family is their top priority. However, the only thing that stating so in a job interview does is send the message that you talk about your family at inappropriate times, which of course is a leading killer of job offers. Seriously, never mention your spouse or your kids in a job interview.
  3. “I don’t know that much about your company.” Can you hear that? It is the thunderous sound of the job-opportunity-door slamming shut. It is vital when interviewing at a business that you conduct at least a half-hour of online research. Visit every page of the company website, conduct a Google search and see if they are on social media. Read everything you can find. When discussing the position at your interview, think how great it will feel when you say, “I was doing a little research on your company and I know that…” Yeah, it is called being a professional.
  4. “How much will I get paid?” Sure, compensation is one of the most important things to factor in when considering a job; but there are proper and not-so-proper times to address the topic. Again, by nosing around online, you can probably determine the general salary of any job in your community prior to the interview; then determine the range that you are personally willing to consider. Then keep it to yourself until the interviewer brings up the subject. If you take the “What I Can Do for You” approach rather than the “What Are You Going to Give Me?” approach, at the end of the day, you are much better situated to negotiate that salary.
  5. “Do you require drug testing?”


2 Responses to “Top 5 Worst Things to Say in a Job Interview”

  1. Marilyn Slifka says:

    I am 64 and looking for part time employment to subsidize my Social Security. How do you address the senior issue during an interview.

    • 10 til 2 says:

      Marilyn: Yours is a great question. The fact is, if you have great skills you don’t really need to address the issue at all. One of the biggest factors that hold seniors back from attaining employment is the lack of basic computer and technology skills. So if you have the intention of applying for jobs such as administrative assistant, receptionist, customer service, etc., be sure to hone up on your computer skills; this includes familiarizing yourself with social media if you are not already doing so. It is also not a bad idea to make sure that you are presenting a professional, current image; out of style fashion can date you faster than you can say “ponytail scrunchy.” Good luck and keep us posted!

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