8 Things You Should Never Say In an Interview

Job interviews can be stressful experiences, with pressure mounting for each participant to perform and present themselves in their best light possible. While practiced answers and demonstration of skills may take priority over what not to say in interviews, being mindful of potential pitfalls should never be underestimated. After all, you don’t want to ruin your chances before you even get to see The Pay Stubs. In this article, we’ll explore eight phrases and questions that you should absolutely avoid during an interview.

  1. “What Does Your Company Do?”

Asking this question during an interview is an obvious red flag and indicates an apparent lack of preparation and genuine interest for the company in which you’re applying. With access to so much information available online nowadays, no excuse should exist not doing your homework beforehand – employers expect candidates who know about their mission, values and services before attending interviews.

What to Say Instead

Instead of showing that you lack knowledge, instead try impressing the interviewer by discussing how your skills and experience match those of the company’s goals. For instance, instead of saying, “I admire your commitment to sustainability, and feel my experience in environmental science would make a valuable addition to ongoing projects,” focus instead on emphasizing where your skills align.

  1. “I Don’t Have Any Weaknesses”

Claiming to have no weaknesses not only sounds arrogant but also disingenuous. No one is perfect; everyone has areas where they could improve. Employers appreciate candidates who are self-aware and open to personal and professional growth.

What to Say Instead

Choose a real but minor weakness that doesn’t directly impact the job you’re applying for. Then, elaborate on the proactive steps you’re taking to improve. For example, “I’ve noticed that I can struggle with time management, but I’ve started using productivity apps and setting daily goals to keep myself on track.”

  1. “I Need This Job Because I’m Desperate”

Desperation is far from appealing in a job candidate. Employers are looking for individuals who are passionate about the role and the company, not just someone who is in dire need of a paycheck.

What to Say Instead

Shift the focus from you needs to what you can offer the company, by showing enthusiasm for this role by saying things such as, ‘I am so delighted that this opportunity aligns perfectly with my career goals and skill set; I know I can add great value to your team.”

  1. “How Soon Can I Take a Vacation?”

Asking about holidays or time off before being offered the job could create the perception that you’re not fully committed. Employers might question your work ethic and priorities.

What to Say Instead

As soon as a job offer has been accepted, the time comes for discussing benefits and time off with employers. Once offered a position, inquiries about vacation policy, work-life balance options and any additional perks should become appropriate topics of conversation.

  1. “I Don’t Know”

Responding with “I don’t know” can make you appear unprepared, unqualified or indifferent – missed opportunities for showing your abilities and problem-solving capabilities.

What to Say Instead

When in doubt about an answer to a question, take time to reflect. Perhaps tell the person asking the query that you need more time before providing their response; perhaps responding with “That is an interesting question; let me think about that for a minute and offer your thoughts as soon as I have time.” This allows your brain to work faster so you can come up with thoughtful, well-considered solutions to their query.

  1. “I Didn’t Get Along with My Previous Boss”

Badmouthing past employers or colleagues is a surefire way to raise red flags about your professionalism and your ability to work well in a team setting. It can make interviewers wonder if you’ll have similar issues in the new role.

What to Say Instead

If you’re asked about your relationships with previous employers, keep the focus on the positive. You could say, “I’ve had a variety of supervisors with different management styles, and I’ve been able to adapt and learn from each experience.”

  1. “What’s the Salary?”

Bringing up salary too early in the interview process can make you seem more interested in the financial aspect than in contributing to the company. It’s a sensitive topic that should be approached with care.

What to Say Instead

It’s advisable to wait for the employer to initiate the conversation about salary or until a job offer is extended. At that point, you can negotiate based on market rates, your experience, and your skill set.

  1. “I Don’t Have Any Questions”

Declining the opportunity to ask questions can make you appear disinterested, uncurious, or unprepared. It’s a missed chance to further engage with the interviewer and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role.

What to Say Instead

Prepare some pertinent questions to ask at the end of an interview to demonstrate that you’ve done your research while also showing an interest in understanding more about their company culture, team dynamic or forthcoming projects. This shows how well-informed you are.


Successfully navigating an interview is a balancing act. Though you want to present yourself in the best light possible, it’s also essential that you avoid saying anything that might hinder your chances of landing the job. By avoiding these eight problematic phrases and questions, it will give you more chance at creating an impression worthy of taking that next step toward receiving your pay stubs.