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  • Writer's pictureLayne Daniels

11 Things to Never (Ever!) Say in an Interview

11 things you should never, ever, say during an interview.

Congrats—you scored an interview! So, they like you based on how you are on paper; now you have to prove yourself in-person. No pressure, huh? The interview is the time to really shine, and be your usual charming self…to some degree. While you should always be yourself, you must keep in mind a few major faux pas to avoid during the meeting. Here are our top 11 things you should never, ever, ever say during an interview.

I don’t know much about the company or position Paradigm CEO, Betsy Bentz, says, "This shows a complete lack of preparation and interest in the job." You absolutely must do your research on the company before an interview. Check out their website, do a Google search for any recent news stories. During the interview, demonstrate that you’re committed to and interested in this job, and working for this company specifically.

What’s the pay? You’ve been dreaming about that paycheck from the minute you got the call. Of course you want to know what the position is paying, but you should definitely not ask during your interview. The general rule is to let the hiring manager talk money first. If he or she asks what your salary requirements are, simply give a broad range, and mention that your numbers may be negotiable if an offer is made.

What are the perks? You basically work hard, so you can play hard, right? You don’t want your future employer to know that! Avoid asking when you can take a vacation, how many sick days you get, if you get any employee discounts, or if there are any other bonuses. If you are extended an offer, this information will be revealed.

Let me get this call It’s pretty much a given that you have a cell phone within arms reach at all times these days. However, during an interview turn it off, or better yet, leave it in your car. If it happens to ring (accidentally), politely silence it and put it out of sight. Never, under any circumstances, is it OK to answer a call, reply to a text, check Insta or Snapchat, or take a selfie—even if the hiring manager leaves the room.

I’m so nervous! No doubt interviews are stressful, and most managers realize that you may be somewhat nervous. But they also want to see how well you perform under pressure. Now is your chance to show that you are capable, confident, and can handle just about anything that’s thrown your way.

I’m just looking to get my foot in the door How invested in this position will you be if you see it as a stepping-stone to something else? Your hiring manager wants you to indicate that you are more than prepared to focus your full attention and effort on this job, before deciding you want to move on to something better.

I have no questions Interviewers will ask the question no matter what, and you better be ready for it: "Do you have any questions for me?" You absolutely must ask a few relevant, professional questions during your interview. For example: What’s the company culture? What would a typical day be like? Who will I work most closely with? What are the biggest challenges of this position?

I hated my last company (or boss) because… Even if this may be true, you shouldn’t speak badly about your former employer. Bentz explains, "This shows a lack of tact and sensitivity." Trash talking speaks to your character, and may reveal that you were actually the problematic one. Bentz says hiring managers could think, "Maybe you are a chronic complainer or a poor performer who has to be micromanaged to get work done." Employers want to know that you saw challenges as opportunities, and that you were able to get along well with others. If there were conflicts at your past job, tactfully explain that it just wasn’t the right fit.

I don’t know If you don’t know the answer to a question they ask you, be smart and say something besides, "I don’t know." Try redirecting the conversation to some of your more useful skills. Or, have a go-to response, like, "I am in the process of researching that, and am really excited about learning more." Also, never speak to your inexperience!

I’ll follow up with you this week It’s kind of like a relationship—if the hiring manager was impressed, he or she will contact you. It’s a good idea to send a thank-you note immediately after the interview, but then wait a week or two before following up about the position. You don’t want to seem desperate, but you also want to show your interest. It’s a tricky line, but don’t annoy anyone.

I’m not sure what the future holds So you aren’t expected to have your entire life mapped out, but have a few long- and short-term goals that specifically relate to the position for which you are interviewing.

Avoiding these small, but detrimental, statements will help you to really make an impression in your next interview, and hopefully help land you the job you want. Don’t forget that phone interviews are also important—check out our top dos and don’ts of phone interviews too. Good luck, candidates!

-- Want to love Mondays? It’s possible when you love what you do. Paradigm is a San Diego staffing agency dedicated to finding the perfect job for candidates like you. We’re connected with some of the most innovative tech companies around, giving our employees that competitive edge needed in today’s job market. We hope to hear from you today, and let's make your career goals happen.

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