Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct several job interviews for openings at our company. Interviewing can actually be pretty fun, especially when you’re on the other side of the table!
However, I know how stressful it can be when you’re the one in the hot seat as an eager job candidate. Emotions are high, nervous are in play, and there’s so much information you need to remember. It can be tough!
And, because I know how difficult it can be to be in that position, I want to share some major red flags I’ve encountered when interviewing candidates. I know there’s a lot to remember, but there are some things you should NEVER say during a job interview. So, if you’ve got an interview coming up, make sure you review these phrases before you hop on the phone or walk into the office.
1. “I don’t see myself working here for more than two years.”
Even if the job you’re applying for isn’t something you can really see yourself doing for the long-term, don’t volunteer that information to your interviewer. You might have big career aspirations, but it’s important to focus on the job you’re interviewing for now — no matter how entry-level.
By telling your interviewer that you’re essentially uncommitted to the job, you can sabotage your chances of landing the gig. Think about it from the employer’s perspective: Why would a company want to invest in, hire, and train someone who is already planning on leaving before he or she even gets the job offer?
Second, you might not realize how much growth potential this role has and whether or not it might transform into something that excites you. Every dream job starts somewhere. So, why kill the opportunity before you give it a chance?
2. “I don’t have any questions.”
Typically, at the end of interviews, we ask our job candidates if they have any questions for us. We EXPECT questions. The candidate should be looking to learn as much as he or she can about the role, company, and team. It’s just as much for his or her benefit as it is for the employer.
Also, don’t just want until the end of the interview to ask questions. An interview should be a two-way conversation. So, ask questions throughout the interview to emphasize your interest, curiosity, and listening skills.
3. “So, what does your company actually do, anyway?”
You should be able to find basic information about the company by doing a simple Google search. While it’s very important to ask questions during a job interview, it’s just as important to ask the RIGHT questions — questions that show you’ve done your homework but want to dig deeper. Asking questions you could (and frankly should) have the answers to beforehand (like what the company does, when it started, why it started, etc.) isn’t going to make you look very good.
4. “What else can you tell me about the salary and benefits?”
Learning about what you’ll be paid and what benefits you’ll receive as an employee is something you’ll want to understand down the line, but please don’t bring this up during your first interview. This information will be revealed and/or mapped out for you as you get closer to a job offer. If you ask questions like this one too soon, though, you risk looking like you’re only in it for the money and kickbacks.
Employers know these things are important to job candidates, obviously, but if you start focusing on it too early in the process, it can be a huge turn off. Again, think about it from the employer’s point of view: If you’re taking this job solely for the money and/or benefits, who’s to say you won’t up and leave when a better offer comes along? What’s keeping you at the company other than the extras? Instead, focus on why you want to work at this particular job at this specific company. The other stuff will come up later.
5. “What kind of skills are you looking to leverage in this position?”
This is a similar question to #3. If you feel like you need to ask what kinds of skill sets are required for this role, you didn’t read the job description carefully enough. That information should be all over the job posting and you should be prepared to show examples of how your experience will be valuable.
If the job description was a little vague, though, ask more targeted questions about the role. For example, “What does the typical day look like for this employee?” or “What kinds of projects would I be working on specifically and how would they add value to the company?” Questions like these will allow you to get more clues on the role AND give you a deeper understanding of what you’re expected to accomplish as an employee.
A job interview can be scary, yes, but if you go in prepared, it’s actually pretty exciting. When you understand the employer’s side of things, it’s easier to frame your thoughts and questions. If you feel like you’re “stuck” in an endless job search and can’t move past the job interview process, check out our free webinar “How To Get ‘Unstuck’ In Your Career” with J.T. O’Donnell. There might be something holding your back that you’re not even aware of, and this webinar can help you start moving forward.
Best of luck on your upcoming job interviews!