5 Things Not To Say During An Interview
By Donna Fuscaldo
Everyone knows how to act on a job interview right? Think again. Even seasoned professionals make mistakes during in-person interviews. Coming to an interview late or ill prepared are two obvious show stoppers, but even seemingly innocent comments can hurt your chances of landing the job.
"Overall people have gotten a little savvier but it's amazing how even tenured people will make comments they wish they hadn't," says Janet Elkin, chief executive of Supplemental Healthcare, the healthcare staffing company.
From oversharing to trying too hard to be witty, here are five sayings that will kill your chances of getting a follow up interview:
1. "I'm Always Looking"
Everyone knows millennial workers are more likely to switch jobs at a faster pace than their older counterparts, but nothing can hurt millennials or any job seekers from landing a position then letting the hiring manager know they are always looking for the next opportunity.
"One of the things you don't find these days is loyalty," says Jeffrey Agranoff, principal at accounting firm Friedman LLP. "You really want the candidate to differentiate and its so uncommon for a candidate to be 'loyal' it becomes a differentiator." He says the "always looking" comment comes up often during high level executive searches and is surefire way to turn hiring managers off, because what is going to stop you from moving to the next opportunity a mere six months later?
2. "I'm not working over forty hours a week"
Nobody wants to work sixty hours a week, but it's not the type of question you should be asking the minute you sit down to an interview. Yet it happens all the time, says Elkin. Of course you want to make sure the job works with your outside obligations but you should first learn about the company and make a good impression before you start lodging work/life balance questions the interviewer's way. "No one wants to work 24 hours, but if you are going to say that to me right away, you are already saying you don't want to work hard," says Elkin. "The cardinal rule is always make the interviewer fall in love with you."
3. "I'm a cat, dog, fish person"
You want your true self to come out during the interview, granted your true self is squeaky clean. If that's not the case, which is likely with the majority of people, refrain from oversharing personal things, even the innocent ones. "It is patently unprofessional to reveal things about yourself that have nothing whatsoever to do with the job," says Mark Jaffe, president of Wyatt & Jaffe, the executive search firm.. "Your potential employer only cares about what you can do for them they don't care about your personal life." So refrain from showing off your pet cat or fish, or recanting scenes from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
4. "Sarcasm and humor is my middle name"
Even the most interesting man in the world (yes the Dos Equis spokesman) knows when to keep the sarcasm and attempts at wit in check, yet many job candidates don't. During behavioral interviews candidates are asked to give examples of past performance, but often they use this opportunity to try and impress the interviewer with wild stories or try swaying the interviewer with their wit. "Don't try to be funny, smart, cute or even sarcastic during an interview," says Agranoff. "You want to connect, to smile, to have fun buts it's not a comedy routine."
5. "I couldn't stand my last boss"
Even if you had the worse boss on the planet, you shouldn't use your job interview as a venting session to bash your previous employer no matter how tempting it may be. According to Elkin, candidates who go on a rant about their previous boss during an interview are hurting their ability to get called back for a second interview, even if everything they said is accurate. "What I'm thinking when I hear that over and over again is that you are going to say the same thing about me one day," she says. "Nobody really wants to hear that."