New Grad Life is a must bookmark for new graduates and anyone looking for a new job. It’s full of great articles, like this one with the 10 Phrases That Kill Your Job Interview. Every single one is correct.
- “I’m sorry I’m late.”
This is never, ever a phrase you should be uttering in an interview. Plan to arrive early, like a half hour early. You shouldn’t necessarily walk into the building a full half an hour early, 15 minutes should be fine. Even in the most casual, work when you like offices, the interview should start on time.
- “I left my old job because my boss was a jerk.”
Bad-mouthing your old (or even worse your current!) boss is asking for trouble. You have no idea if these two people play golf or go to the same book club or are best friends. Find a better way to phrase it.
- “I’m just looking to work here until something better comes along.”
No company wants to invest in training you if you’re looking to jump ship the first chance you get. As the article points out, even if you aren’t thinking of settling into the company for the next 30 years, find a way to convey you understand what the company does and how it contributes to society and even more importantly, how you fit into those aspects.
- “I don’t have any experience.”
Everyone has some kind of experience! If the organization didn’t think you had the skills necessary for the job, they wouldn’t be interviewing you! Be sure to review the job description before the interview and use the keywords in your conversations. Find a way to correlate your experience with what the job description requires.
- “I’ll work for free just to get my foot in the door.”
Would you really? Probably not. Further, if you’re willing to work for free, why on earth would the company ever pay you? There’s a difference if you are an unpaid intern and receiving class credit, but unless it is clearly a volunteer position, never offer to work for free.
- “I’m not willing to work overtime.”
As previously noted here, find out the culture of the organization. You may not be able to do this until after you’re hired, but try to be flexible, especially in the interview. Be very aware that this could be a deal breaker.
- “I’m looking for a position that is less stressful and will allow me to work less hours for more pay.”
Isn’t every one? Positions like that are non-existent. More often it’s a trade, less stress and less hours for less pay. More stress and more hours for more pay.
- “I don’t like to stay in one place very long.”
How long is very long? Seven years? Two months? You might not be using the same standard of measurement as your interviewer, however, that doesn’t matter. Just like #3 above, an interviewer wants to know you can be committed to a company and that they will at least get to the break even point to compensate for your training before you leave.
- “I’d like a large salary and a corner office and a private secretary.”
Unless you are being interviewed for a CEO position, good luck with this. Your demands must be commiserate with your position. That means you might be lucky to have a department secretary or a cubical with a door. Companies are looking to get the most for their dollars and personal secretaries and large corner offices don’t fit into that budget.
- “9 to 5? Boy, that sure takes the best part out of the day, doesn’t it?”
Unless you live on a coast, the typical work hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You might even be employed by a clock watcher determined to get exactly eight hours of work out of you a day. That doesn’t mean rolling into the office at 8 a.m., it means in your seat, computer on ready to work at 8 a.m. There will be hints of this in the interview. Listen for words such as punctuality and time management.
What would you add to this list?