Putting your best foot forward in a job interview isn’t just about saying the right things — it’s also about knowing what not to say.
Whether you respond to questions with cliche answers or ask questions that make you look unprepared, there’s no taking back a comment once it’s been uttered.
When it comes to job interview do’s and don’ts, here are seven interview questions and answers you should avoid.
1. So, what does this company do?
Acing a job interview is all about preparation. Before you meet the hiring manager, take the time to research the company and new position. Then, demonstrate what you learned throughout the interview.
Don’t ask questions that you should already know the answers to. Your questions should go deeper than basic facts and figures. Asking about information that can be found with a quick Google search makes you look lazy and ill-informed.
2. I joined five clubs in college and studied comparative literature.
Often, an interviewer will start with an open-ended prompt like, “tell me about yourself.” But the interviewer isn’t looking to hear your entire life story, nor do they especially care what you did in college if you’ve been working for a few years.
Instead, they want to hear about your professional experiences and skills as they relate to the position. Unless you’re a brand new graduate, college activities probably aren’t relevant to the job. If you did just graduate, stick to related projects and achievements that showcase job-related skills.
3. My greatest weaknesses are working too hard and caring too much.
Many interviewers inquire about your weaknesses or a time you experienced failure. It can be tough to answer these questions. You’re trying to sell yourself as the best candidate, so you don’t want to expose your flaws.
But hiring managers want a thoughtful answer. Answering with the cliche “I work too hard” or “I’m too much of a perfectionist” is an obvious cop-out. Instead of evading the question, strive to answer it honestly without sabotaging your candidacy.
Before answering, consider the core competencies of the job. If you’re applying for a human resources position, you shouldn’t say your biggest struggle is communication. If you’re hoping to be an administrative assistant, steer clear of talking about how disorganized you are.
Be sincere, but also strategic. Highlight a weakness that won’t eliminate you as a candidate. If you’re a computer programmer, for instance, it probably won’t hurt to say you’ve struggled with public speaking.
Follow up your explanation by telling the interviewer what steps you’ve taken steps to overcome your weakness. This will show you’re resilient and proactive about sharpening your skills.
4. My last boss was totally incompetent.
If you’re currently employed, an interviewer may ask why you’re looking for a new job. No matter how terrible your last job was, don’t badmouth it.
Insulting your last company or boss will just reflect badly on you, and it could burn bridges if you need a recommendation in the future. Plus, the interviewer wants to see how you handle challenging situations. They may wonder why you didn’t communicate your frustrations and work to improve them.
5. When can I expect to get a promotion?
A job interview is your opportunity to show how excited you are for the new position. Asking about a promotion right off the bat suggests you’re already looking to move on.
Instead, ask about how the organization helps its employees learn new skills, or how the hiring manager sees the position evolving in the next few years.
But asking about a promotion before you even get the job could suggest a lack of commitment. If hiring managers see this red flag, you might not get hired.
6. What will my salary be?
Some employers don’t have the salary conversation until they offer you the job. It’s not really fair to you, but a lot of companies still do things this way.
While you have a right to know what your salary will be, asking about it too early could rub the interviewer the wrong way. If you’re not sure what the procedure is, you’re better off waiting.
But should the interviewer ask what your salary expectations are, you should have a number in mind. Do some market research so you have a reasonable sense of what you should be making.
7. No, I don’t have any questions.
Of all the common interview mistakes to avoid, this is the most important. When an interviewer asks if you have any questions, always say yes — and come prepared with a few.
You might fear that asking questions makes you look stupid, but in fact, the opposite is true. Not only will asking questions show your interest in the organization, but it will also help you gauge whether you’d like to work there.
Prepare at least four to five thoughtful questions before your meeting. You don’t have to ask all of them, but you’ll be ready in case the interviewer answers them throughout your conversation.
Job interview do’s and don’ts: Do your research to avoid mistakes
To do well in an interview, you need to show you’re prepared and enthusiastic. Common interview mistakes happen when you appear unready or disinterested.
But don’t let job interview do’s and don’ts keep you from showing your true personality. You should still be yourself and strive to make a personal connection with your interviewer. Just be strategic about how you present your qualifications.
For more interviewing tips, here’s how to answer the most common interview questions.
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 0318/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.54% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.67% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.43%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|