We’ve given you loads of tips and tricks to acing an interview and how to avoid totally blowing an interview. Here’s a cheat sheet of almost-direct quotations I’ve heard in interviews that I consider the absolute worst:
1. “I have trouble committing to jobs, or staying at one place for too long. I’m always on the lookout for a new adventure.”
This one might be obvious, but it’s amazing what can come out of your mouth once you are in an anxiety-triggering situation like an interview. If you’re asked why you left your last position, focus on what worked and what didn’t work for you, and be specific. Remember to wrap it back into why you would be a good fit for the job you are interviewing for. Don’t give your interviewer the impression that you’re a flake, and/or likely to quit after a few months. They want to hire someone that is a good investment of their time and energy!
2. “I left my last job because my manager was always asking me to help with projects that weren’t in my job description.”
It’s frustrating to be in a position where you’re asked to wear one thousand hats and aren’t sure what your priorities are. This is a common reason that people leave their jobs. However, if you summarize your experience with the sentence above, you might seem selfish or even lazy . Instead of complaining about being assigned tasks that weren’t in your job description, focus on how difficult it was to understand what success looked like due to conflicting priorities and too much on your plate at any given time. Emphasize that you would be happy to assist with additional tasks, but you hoped for more guidance and direction from your superior.
3. “No one at my last job appreciated me enough. I know I’m young, but I know a lot more about engineering than most people, definitely more than my supervisor did, and he was totally intimidated by me, which is why I got fired.”
Oh, the arrogance of youth. While it’s true that some people remain arrogant their whole lives, there is a special brand of entitlement associated with being young that is quickly identified and can indicate a candidate that is too green and difficult to work with. When you’re tempted to talk about how underappreciated you are, take a moment to acknowledge the fact that your former or current supervisor and your interviewer were in your same exact shoes. They have most likely been through things you haven’t even thought of yet, so it might be best to give them the benefit of the doubt. If you truly are a peerless rock star in your field, you’ll show them and everyone else through your actions (not your words).
4. “My last job was terrible because that company sucked. They are so disorganized and my manager was a huge jerk.”
This type of commentary is a huge red flag. It signals to the interviewer that you are a negative person who will most likely be unhappy at the company because you will constantly focus on fails and mistakes instead of wins. Even if your last company DID suck, and your last manage WAS a jerk, your interview for a new opportunity might not be the best time to rant about it.
5. “The thing I liked the most about my last job was that there were a lot of other young people and we would go out to the bars together and hit up happy hour all the time. So fun!”
Having an outgoing personality is usually something that employers love to see, but be careful not to be seen as too much of a social butterfly, especially if you are new to the field. Some young people can be labeled as not being serious, or prioritizing their social life above their jobs, which can scare potential employers away. Instead of focusing on the Happy Hours you shared with former co-workers, discuss an example of a work-related project where you collaborated really well!
We hope these insights into mistakes candidates make on interviews will help. It is important to remember that an interview is an audition, and as with any audition you must put your best foot forward. It is an interview, and you should be confident and relaxed, but not to the point where you get overly casual. For more tips, check out our blogs, The Glover Channel, and Job Talk! Good luck on your search.