Saying the wrong thing can ruin your chances of getting hired.
By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer
“How much vacation time do I get?”
“How long do I have to be here before I’m eligible for a vacation?”
“How long before I start to accrue additional weeks of vacation?”
Consultant Barry Maher says he was involved in a recent interview in which these were the first three questions out of the applicant’s mouth. “What had looked like a great applicant now looked like someone who couldn’t wait to get out of work,” Maher says.
It’s important to ask questions during a job interview, but not ones about taking time off. And that’s not all. Even if you have all the right qualifications and show up looking your best, it’s easy to lower your chances of getting hired by letting the wrong words slip out of your mouth.
Before you head out to meet your next prospective employer, consider these six additional things you should never say in a job interview.
“Sorry I’m late.”
Even if you have to leave ridiculously early, find a way to be on time to your interview. “If you can’t be punctual while asking for the job, how late will you be after you get hired?” says career coach Alex Simon.
“Do you mind if I get this?”
Answering a call or a text during an interview is rude and gives the impression the interview — and the prospect of getting hired — aren’t your priorities. “Leave your cell phone in the car, at home, anywhere, but don’t bring it into the interview,” Simon says.
“I’m a perfectionist.”
If you get the question about your greatest weakness, don’t try to answer with a strength instead, says Jim Giammatteo, author of “No Mistakes Interviews.” “If you say you’re a perfectionist, or a workaholic, you might as well grab your briefcase and go home. Any good interviewer knows that all candidates have weaknesses. If you can’t admit it, or even worse, if you don’t know it, you’re not the person they want.”
“I’m applying for this job because it will give me …”
You may think talking about the skills or experience you’ll get from the job is a compliment to the company, but it just puts the focus on you. “Instead, talk about what you will contribute to a prospective new employer,” says leadership coach Susan Bernstein. “This is a very frequent and subtle mistake that often keeps otherwise great candidates from connecting with the interviewer.”
“I’m not sure if I’m a good fit for this job, but…”
“Everyone is unsure until they’re hired,” says Bernstein. “You’re not actually expected to be able to perform 100 percent of the job on the first day. If you can do 75 percent or more, go ahead and apply. Then spotlight your strengths, rather than your doubts or deficits.”
“I want to talk to dolphins.”
TalkToCanada CEO Marc Anderson is often involved with interviewing prospective employees and says one candidate he met was eager to talk about his love of dolphins. “He said that he wished for us all one day to communicate with dolphins as they can awaken our spirituality.” The revelation didn’t help him win the job.
Information about odd aspects of your personal life can make the interviewer feel awkward, which is bad for your job chances, says Anderson. “Have all the weird hobbies you want, but don’t share them if they’re too far out there.”