5 Interview Phrases That Will Eliminate You on the Spot

Nobody wants to sound overly rehearsed during an interview. At least, you are trying to represent who you are authentically as best as you can when being judged on call, and getting each of your last lines written in advance is likely to leave things feeling stilted.

But while it might be prudent not to chart all of the stuff you ‘re going to say during the interview, experts say there are certain lines you should go ahead and intend not to tell. Beginning with 5 phrases below.

1. Negative about a previous employer or boss

I make it a point never to say something derogatory about a former employer or manager, Even though the applicant thinks the information is real, it doesn’t reflect well on the applicant or the person or business they ‘re talking about, and it doesn’t give a major impression of the candidate to the individual conducting the interview. In my mind, it is a lose-lose-lose!

2. Red flag during an interview is a candidate

One thing that often appears to me as a red flag during an interview is an applicant who is unable to provide any examples of what they have learned from a difficult work project or a demanding supervisor. If I ask a job candidate what she or he has learned from experience, I want to hear a clear narrative about the experience that explains what they have learned. Learning from mistakes indicates a desire for growth and development. An inability to learn from challenging circumstances can signal a lack of interest, or worse, it can show the applicant a degree of arrogance.

3. I need this job

Hiring managers want to see candidates interested in working for their business, but with the enthusiasm, it’s easy to go overboard, if you seem too eager or worse, desperate to get the job they ‘re going to start wondering why. Applicants of the highest quality appear to have other choices available that allow them to come off as interested but still professional. Desperate candidates tend to be passed over or offered the position with reduced compensation.

4. I don’t know

To me, the one thing I don’t know is to avoid saying in an interview. Of course, no matter how much we plan, occasionally there will be questions we don’t have the answer to immediately, but there’s always a better way to answer it than with ‘I don’t know, you can never do something to answer a question you don’t know the answer to, but consider using your communication skills to turn the question around. Take the time to think about it, maybe answer the question as if you’re talking about it, and come up with something that turns the discussion back to what you know.

5. How long before I can be taken for a promotion

This question reveals a brief interest in the position at hand today. Let’s face it, many of us have taken up a job that we see as a stepping stone toward the role that we really want, or as an entrance into our dream business. But, when you’re on the recruiting side, this issue is a red flag that the candidate focuses more on their career development than on doing the job at hand.


Finally, don’t pepper the interviewer with questions on a laundry list. If she seems interested in the discussion and encourages you to keep talking, fine, but if you see her listening, time to wrap it up! It’s best to choose a few of the most critical questions and leave on a positive note.

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