We’ve all had them. Those moments during an interview when words come out of your mouth, then you immediately give yourself a mental head-slap and wonder whether you should move to Bali. The reality is everyone says embarrassing things during interviews, tidbits of information they wish they hadn’t revealed, but learning from these mistakes can help prepare you for interviews down the road.
Following are 10 things you should never say during an interview.
1. “Wait ’til you hear what my last boss did.”
Stick with your mother’s advice and refrain from saying anything about anyone unless it’s positive. Job candidates should never complain about old bosses and colleagues, warns Anthony Balderrama of CNN. If you do this during an interview, the manager will think you’ll do the same thing to him or her down the line.
2. “I’m a single Mom, so scheduling is sometimes a problem.”
Talking about your personal life is never a good thing during an interview. Keep it professional and straight-forward, focusing on facts rather than emotions. Don’t talk about your family, politics, religion or any other topic that isn’t appropriate for a business meeting.
3. “I know I brought my resume — just give me a second to find it.”
Kiplinger cautions job seekers against appearing disorganized during an interview. If you appear flustered or incompetent, the manager will assume this is your typical behavior, and will definitely think twice about hiring you.
4. “I’ll take whatever you’re willing to pay me.”
Even in a tough economy, you don’t want to appear too desperate during an interview. Jennifer Rae Atkins of Wetfeet suggests preparing a salary range in advance. It can be broad or specific, but it’s a good idea to have numbers in mind so the hiring manager knows you are a professional.
5. “Mind if I take this call?”
Never call for a time-out during an interview to answer your cell phone. Whoever it is will leave a message that you can return after you leave the building. One of the most important goals you can accomplish during an interview is to demonstrate that you respect the hiring manager’s time.
6. “Your parking garage is very poorly lit.”
Don’t criticize anything about the company or its employees during an interview. What you see as constructive criticism will come across as discourteous to the manager. Instead, file away criticisms in your mind for future reference. They will help you make the decision between two or more job offers.
7. “What exactly do you do here?”
Company research is something to conduct before the interview, not while you’re sitting across from the hiring manager. You should already know what the company sells, how it is run, and where its industry lies. Otherwise, you will appear uninformed and disinterested.
8. “Oh, those employment gaps? I had things to do.”
If there are employment gaps on your resume, be prepared to explain them in a short, succinct, but informative way. You might say something like I had to take care of my elderly mother after her surgery or I was going back to school. Don’t lie, but try to frame those gaps in a positive light.
9. “Yeah, I’ve held lots of jobs. I’m interested in so many things, I have trouble picking one!”
When asked about a complex job history, suggests CareerBuilder, it is best to emphasize that job-hopping is part of your past. Explain that you’ve experienced jumping from one employer to another, and now you’re ready to find long-term growth with a great company.
10. “My weaknesses? I don’t have any.”
While you don’t want to rattle off a laundry list of poor habits, you must always give at least one answer when asked this question during an interview. Admit a flaw and describe the steps you are taking to improve, suggests CareerBuilder. Mention a negative and turn it into a positive.
You might say something you later regret during an interview, but avoiding the aforementioned blunders will put you in a better light. Just remember that interviews tend to go better when the interviewee is relaxed, natural and forthright.