11 things you should never say in a job interview

what not to say in a job interview

Job interviews are always nerve-racking, whether a recent graduate or a seasoned professional. Of course, you want to make a good impression and offer the interviewer something valuable. However, you don’t want to say the wrong thing and torpedo your chances of landing the job. So here are some tips for what not to say in a job interview.

Things not to say in a job interview

I’m a perfectionist

One of the most common mistakes in job interviews is to say that you are a perfectionist. This may seem like a positive quality, but in reality, it is seen as a negative by most employers.

Perfectionists tend to be obsessively detail-oriented and inflexible when meeting deadlines. They also tend to be significantly more stressed than their non-perfectionist counterparts. As a result, employers often view perfectionists as high-maintenance employees who will be challenging to work with. After all, no one is perfect, and expecting others to meet your high standards can create tension and conflict.

So, avoid calling yourself a perfectionist if you want to make a good impression in your following job interview. Instead, focus on your strengths and how they can benefit the company. For example, show that you can take on challenges and are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. This will make the interviewer more likely to want to hire you.

I work best under pressure

Interviewers often ask candidates if they work better under pressure. Naturally, it can be tempting to say yes to this question, as it seems an excellent way to demonstrate your work ethic. However, there are a few reasons to avoid saying that you work best under pressure in a job interview.

First, it suggests that you thrive in chaotic and stressful environments. While this may be true for some people, it’s not always the case. Second, it implies that you cannot manage your time or prioritize your workload effectively. Employers may interpret this as meaning that you’re the type of person who leaves everything to the last minute. Finally, saying that you work best under pressure can make you seem unable to handle challenging tasks.

Instead, try to focus on qualities such as working well under deadlines and staying calm in stressful situations. These are qualities that any employer will be looking for.

I don’t have any weaknesses

When you’re asked in a job interview to name your weaknesses, it can be tempting to try to deflect the question or give a generic answer. However, this is not the best approach. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are self-aware and able to reflect on their weaknesses honestly. By being open about your shortcomings, you display confidence and show that you’re willing to improve.

Additionally, that allows you to highlight how you’ve addressed your weakness in the past or what steps you’re taking to improve. For example, suppose you’re weak in a particular area of expertise. In that case, you can explain that you’re currently enrolled in a course or working on developing those skills. Ultimately, being honest about your weaknesses shows that you’re dedicated to the growth and unlikely to make the same mistake twice.

I know everything there is to know about …

It’s essential to be honest in a job interview, but there is such a thing as being too honest. So, for example, if you’re asked whether you know everything there is to know about an industry or a technology, it’s best to err on the side of caution and say no. Why? Because if you say yes, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

It’s impossible to know everything there is to know about any given industry or technology. If you say that you do, your interviewer will likely see right through you. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are willing to learn and grow, not those who think they already know everything. Furthermore, even if you are an expert in your field, it’s important to remember that humility goes a long way in an interview setting. Boasting your knowledge and expertise will likely turn off your interviewer and could cost you the job.

So, instead, focus on highlighting your willingness to learn and grow. Demonstrate how you’ve kept up with the latest changes in your field, and share what you’re doing to stay ahead of the curve. By taking this approach, you’ll show that you’re both knowledgeable and open to new ideas – two qualities that any employer would value.

I’m not really looking for a job, but I saw this and thought it was interesting

Another thing you should never say is that you are not really looking for a job. This makes you look disinterested and unenthused about the position, which will likely turn the interviewer off.

Suppose you are not genuinely interested in the position. In that case, it is better to say so and end the interview politely simply. However, if you are interested in the job, express your excitement and let the interviewer know why you think you would be an excellent fit. Honesty and enthusiasm are critical in any job interview, so keep these things in mind!

I don’t know what my salary requirements are

One of the most common questions asked in a job interview is, “What are your salary requirements?” It can be tempting to give a vague answer or say you’re open to negotiation. However, there are a few reasons why you should never say you don’t know your salary requirements.

First, it makes you look unprepared. The employer will likely think you haven’t bothered to research the salary range for the position. Second, it gives the employer too much power in the negotiation process. Suppose you state that you’re open to negotiation. In that case, the employer may lowball you and offer a salary below market value. Finally, it signals that you’re not confident in your worth.

By providing a specific number, you’re showing that you know your value and you’re confident in what you deserve to be paid. So next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, remember to give a specific answer. It might just help you get the job and the salary you want.

Salary illustration
Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels

I’ll work really hard

One of the most common pieces of job interview advice is emphasizing how hard you are willing to work. However, this is actually one of the worst things you can do.

First, it sets an unrealistic expectation that you will be working at full capacity all the time. In other words, you promise more than you can deliver. Second, it gives the impression that you are not very confident in your abilities and are hoping to make up for it with sheer effort. Finally, it comes across as a bit desperate. It may make the interviewer wonder if you are really the best candidate for the job. Telling the interviewer that you will work really hard will not give them an accurate idea of who you are as a worker.

So, if you want to make a good impression in your next job interview, avoid saying that you will work really hard and focus on highlighting your skills and qualifications instead.

Badmouthing your old boss or company

When you’re in a job interview, it’s important to remember that everything you say reflects your qualifications and professionalism. Slamming your old boss or company is a surefire way to make the interviewer question your character.

Not only does it make you look unprofessional, but it also makes it seem like you can’t handle constructive criticism or work in a less-than-ideal environment. Additionally, your interviewer may know someone from your old company, and they may not appreciate you speaking badly about them. Finally, suppose you do end up getting the job. In that case, you’ll likely have to work with people from your previous company, and it will be awkward if you’ve said negative things about them in the past.

If you have negative things to say about your old job, frame them in a positive light. For example, “I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with my previous boss, but I learned how to deal with difficult people and stay calm under pressure.” Taking the high road will show the interviewer that you’re a classy professional who can be an asset to any organization.

Bragging about your accomplishments

One of the worst things you can do in a job interview is to brag about your accomplishments.

Not only does it make you appear arrogant, but it also makes it less likely that the interviewer will believe what you say. Furthermore, bragging about your accomplishments is a surefire way to alienate potential employers. After all, no one likes to work with someone constantly trying to one-up them. Boasting about your achievements will make you appear more focused on yourself than the company’s needs. In addition, it can signal to the employer that you are not a team player. Remember, you are trying to sell yourself as the best candidate during a job interview. Coming across as conceited will only serve to undercut your efforts.

So, be modest and humble if you want to make a good impression in a job interview. Focus on what you can do for the company rather than what you have done in the past. This will show that you are a team player more interested in working collaboratively than drawing attention to yourself.

Work hard, Stay humble
Photo by Maddy Freddie from Pexels

Asking about salary and benefits at the beginning of the interview

While it’s essential to ensure you’re being compensated fairly for your work, it’s generally not a good idea to ask about salary and benefits during a job interview.

For one thing, this information is typically not discussed until after an offer has been made. Asking about salary and benefits upfront can give the impression that you’re more interested in the money than the actual position. Additionally, discussing salary and benefits too early in the process can create tension and put the interviewer on the defensive.

If you have concerns about compensation, wait until after you’ve been offered the job to negotiate salary and benefits. By waiting to broach the subject, you’ll be in a much stronger position to get what you’re worth.

I don’t have any questions

The job interview is your opportunity to sell yourself as the perfect candidate. Asking questions shows that you are interested in the role and have done your research on the company. It also shows that you are thinking critically about how you would be a good fit for the team.

Furthermore, asking questions allows you to learn more about the company culture and whether it is a good fit for you. Finally, showing that you have no questions indicates that you are either not interested in the role or have not done your research. Either way, it is not a good impression on potential employers. Therefore, it is always best to prepare a few questions before your job interview.

However, avoid asking questions that could quickly be answered by doing a simple Google search. Instead, focus on asking thoughtful questions that will give you a better understanding of the role and the company. By asking intelligent questions, you will make a great impression and show that you are genuinely interested in the position.


The best way to avoid these mistakes is to practice ahead of time. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you, and take note of the things you do well and the areas where you need improvement. And finally, remember to stay upbeat – even under challenging interviews. In the next post, we will discuss about things to say in a job interview to increase your chances of hiring.