Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Did you hate your last job? Please keep it to yourself. Your former colleagues were a pain in the ass? Oops! My bad! A red flag right there. Avoid curse words! And, of course, avoid awkward exclamations like oops! There are many things you, as a job seeker, must refrain from saying whenever you are lucky enough to take that interview for that job you applied to, which will greatly reduce your chances of getting hired. Trust me. You really want to stick with me through this entire write-up. First of all, congratulations to you for getting a call to that interview.

It is nice you’ve made a good first impression on paper. Now you’d need to make more adequate impressions with your composure, dress code, etc. But while you get those sorted out, you also need to read through this as attentively as possible, so you can effectively scale through those verbal hurdles that peg a job candidate as incapable, immature, or just downright ridiculous. Failing your interview is like losing a job before you actually get it. So, stick with me closely. 

13 things you should never say in a job interview:

1. Never badmouth your previous job, employer and or colleague.

Seriously, could you not do it? Don’t criticize your previous work, whether or not your former boss and/or your colleagues gave you a had time or were simply difficult to work with. Never throw them into a critical light in their absence. This is because your interviewer will see you as:

  • A disloyal employee
  • One with a negative personality
  • One who is not a problem solver 
  • A whiner

Trust me, when you speak badly of another employer, the current employer you’re trying to impress will put themselves in the same position as the former and assume you’d do the same thing to them. Instead, say you enjoyed working in your earlier employment; say your boss was kind and thoughtful, your job was fulfilling and that you only left because:

  • You’re looking to advance your career,
  • Expand your knowledge and feel this new company will provide you with the possibilities.

2. Never make desperate utterances

The commonest forms of desperate utterances are the ‘I’ll do anything’ and ‘I really need this job’ statements, which job seekers use when they are hopeless or, you said it, desperate. Some people make the mistake of thinking that when they tell the employer they are ready for anything, it makes them appear as the most eager and rightful fit for their company. This isn’t true. Your interviewer will see you as someone without a true passion for their labor demands and as one who lacks confidence and value. Essentially you’ll come off as one who can never improve their organization, who would leave their company once the excitement of working ‘anything’ dies off with time because they know it’s not something you loved in the first place. You’ll very likely be disqualified and even if you’re considered it will be for the least important tasks in the organization and not the one you had applied for. 


  • Stay true to your qualifications and expertise,
  • Be confident and specific with what you want to bring to the table.
  • Be steadfast and vocal about your abilities and passion.

3. Never be passive about your qualities/abilities

This means telling instead of showing or, more aptly, saying that you can do something instead of telling how you are and can perform a duty. Stay with me here. For example, some potential workers would only say they can increase a company’s sales or good salespeople. But the truth is hiring managers to know that anybody can claim any skill or quality even when they know nothing about it. Still, the candidate who intelligently details their capabilities is very likely the real deal. Even you wouldn’t personally want to buy from a salesperson who says a product will do wonders without telling you how it would or showing proofs/testimonies of its potential.


  • Talk about that project you aced and how you did it. 
  • Declare how you helped your previous company grow,
  • What positive change your input generated
  • How timely and budget-conscious you were on a particular task

Don’t just say “I can get things done” say “I carried this out by…”

4. Never use swear words

Never swear! Don’t curse! Please keep your swear words at home! Don’t curse! I don’t know how to stress this enough, but swearing is a no–no, a huge red flag. In fact, probably the reddest of them all. Even if the company is as casual and fun–loving as can be, steer clear of the F–word and its cohorts. 

5. Never use remarks that show incompetency

When the interviewer asked John the other day: “John, can you help us drive more traffic to our website in two weeks?” John answered, “I can’t, sorry” John had made a terrible mistake. Look, even when you truly can not perform the task, chances are you can do something similar because you wouldn’t be asked a question that has no relationship with the job offer. Hence, you will need to say something relatable that will put you in a competent light. 

For example, if you applied for a job as a digital marketer and the interviewer asked you the aforementioned question, instead of saying “I can’t” or “I don’t know how,” say “I may not have exactly driven traffic to a website before, but I have helped a social media account to gain followers with the help of my knowledge of social awareness and engagement which I’m sure is similar to web traffic also” Alternatively, you could ask that they repeat the question for clarity, or you can request a glass of water or repeat the question yourself so that you can buy yourself more time to think.

6. Avoid questions that show your cluelessness 

“What do you guys do here?”, “Can you explain the role better to me?” Seriously? You’re going to pull the ‘I didn’t do my research’ crap on your interviewer? That is just plainly outrageous, and you’ll certainly not get the job.

To save yourself the embarrassment and rejection, do research on:

  • The organization, its employees, values, etc.
  • The position you’re applying for
  • The offer and its elements such as keywords, professional requirements, etc.
  • If possible, buy their product or use their service before the interview. This can be an added advantage.

7. Never try to get ahead of yourself with undue questions

Some job seekers go into interviews already thinking about their vacation dates, lunch periods, and other needless worries. While there’s nothing wrong with eating and taking a break from work once in a while, your interview is not the place for such concerns unless, of course, it is personally brought up by the interviewer, and then you need to answer. Don’t ask too if you’ve gotten the job or if you were a possible consideration. Focus on convincing them properly about your passions, skill, and expertise.

8. Never bring up salary/wages by yourself

Let them ask you instead. Wait for them to bring up the issue of salary. Hiring officers will quickly perceive you as too money–focused and hence inconsequential and short-sighted. Nobody likes the person who cares only about money. They are easily written off as unfit for progress and integrity. You also don’t want to ask for a salary beyond what is professionally possible. Let me clarify: Avoid bringing into the salary negotiations your personal, family, and/or transportation difficulties that a higher salary would demand. This is not their problem; they will pay you based on your expertise level or the contribution you’re offering.

9. Never say “I have no questions”

Never say you don’t have any questions when asked “do you have any questions” by the interviewer. This lack of inquisition parades you as small-minded and incapable of tasks that will involve you thinking outside of the box. Most companies don’t want dummies or robots. They are looking for workers who are dynamic, analytical, and broadminded.

Hence, say “yes, I have a couple of questions for you”. Some of these questions may include:

  • What are your expectations for this role?
  • What are the challenges of working here?
  • Do I need to give clarity on my qualifications or anything else?
  • Are there opportunities for a career further?
  • Does your company have any plans for growth in the nearest future?

Honestly, the list of questions you could ask are endless.

10. Avoid statements that sell you short

When you flood your interview with statements like “I’m sorry interviews make me anxious” or “I don’t have much experience but…” you sell yourself short. You’ll be presenting a timid person to someone who needs confidence around the working area. Please shut up on this one even though you’re quaking on the inside.

11. Never use cocky phrases

Let me take you through some phrases for a sec:

  • What’s the deal around here
  • It’s on my resume
  • I would rather not say anything about myself.
  • I know I’m the best person for this job.
  • When do we finish up here

Do you feel awkwardly put-off yet? I know I do. Your interview is not the right place to be cocky. It would be best if you were confident, yes, but not too much, or you come off as disrespectful, arrogant or inefficient. Trust me, when the interviewer asks you questions sometimes, they test your attitude and communications skills.

12. Avoid going off course

Sometimes candidates get too carried away in an interview and plunge into personal stories of their experiences. While using stories to communicate your abilities is pertinent or highly commendable, they are a red flag when not used according to the question asked. 

13. Avoid using too much professional jargons

I know it is cool to know a lot about your profession, and I know it is good to let your interviewer know too that you indeed know what you’re doing. Still, quite frankly, it is best to be more conversational rather than overly businesslike or technical. Be human rather than a machine.

Final Takeaway

The passion and attitude or lack thereof that are enshrined in your delivery are also as important as saying the right things and avoiding the wrong. Work on your confidence and generally prepare well beforehand. Now you can go get that job. Good luck!

Also read Top 15 Video Interview Questions [Sample Answers]

Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

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