If you’re not careful, it can be almost too easy to set off a red flag or two during your job interview. There are questions and answers that should be avoided when attempting to make a good impression on employers. Keep reading to improve the quality of your interview skills with these interview question and answer don’ts.
First, the question don’ts:
“What does your organization do?” This is one of the most nightmarish questions for an employer to hear. It implies that the candidate is not prepared for the interview, nor willing to research the company before coming to the interview. How can you know if you’re right for the job when you don’t even know what the job is?
“What is like to work here?” This question doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on the candidate, but you most likely won’t get a useful answer. No employer is going to say their company culture is inadequate or unpleasant. Instead, ask the employer one thing they would change about the company culture if they could. This provides insight on the employer’s true opinion of the culture without putting the employer in the position of bashing it.
“What salary/benefits does this position have?” A common mistake candidates make is seeming to be only interested in the job for the money. This implication leads employers to believe that the candidate will be no more than adequate, just enough to secure their paycheck and little else. Other questions that fall into this category include anything regarding vacation time, days off, or scheduling. They are important to know, but asking too soon will seem like you don’t have the availability to work as often as required, or that you are too focused on what the organization can do for you rather than what you can do for the organization.
Second, the answer don’ts:
According to Marie Zimenoff of A Strategic Advantage, “One thing that drives recruiters crazy is hearing a strength pitted as a weakness.” Responding to the question of your biggest weakness by categorizing yourself as a workaholic or perfectionist is a perfect example of this. When an interviewer asks this question, they want to see if you can admit that you aren’t perfect, so that you respond well to feedback and improvements.
“Tell me about yourself” can be such a difficult request in any situation, and even more difficult when a potential job is on the line. When it comes to a job interview, you want to keep your answer work related. Some candidates see it as an opening to spill their personal lives, but that is not what employers want to hear. This is your chance to highlight your productivity, creativity, or other positive work-related traits.
“Do you have any other questions?” A common response to this question is something along the lines of “I think you covered everything.” Having no questions leads the employer to believe you are uninterested in the interview or job, which makes them uninterested in you. There’s always another question to be asked, don’t be afraid to ask it.
A job interview requires you to sell yourself at your full potential to a stranger in a minute amount of time; everything you say needs to leave a good impression. Keep these question and answer don’ts in mind when you sit down for your next interview.