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Jobs Careers » Pathfinder

Posted at: Jun 13, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: Jun 13, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)OFFICE MANTRA

Thoughts to strike off

Employers want to hire people with little baggage
Thoughts to strike off

Aine Cain

It’s not hard to flub an interview. The nerves that come with sitting across from a hiring manager and opening yourself up for judgment sometimes can make you say the wrong thing at the wrong time. That’s understandable. But what phrases really tick off interviewers? Here’s what you do not want to say to your interviewer:

“I left my previous job because the environment was toxic/my boss was too demanding.”

“Don’t complain about your current position or employer,” says Vip Sandhir, the CEO and founder of the employee-engagement platform HighGround. “I want to hire positive people and it’s an immediate red flag if someone is too critical during an interview.”

Complaining about past gigs or bosses is by far one of the worst things you can do in an interview. 

Basically, no one likes a whiner

“I’ve moved around in jobs because I haven’t found the right fit/am not challenged enough.”

According to Scorsone, a statement like this will make you sound aimless and lost. “This will make the interviewers immediately think to themselves: ‘why would this role be any different? They’ll probably leave here in six months,” she says. Ultimately, a manager would love someone who can self-sustain and enable growth through being proactive, strong in follow-through of work and brings ideas and solutions to the table.”

“What does your company do?/Where is your company headquartered?”

A general rule to abide by during job interviews is if you can answer your question with a Google search, do not ask it.

“You should have done your research before coming through our door,” says Ed Mitzen, the founder of the marketing firm Fingerpaint. Suzanne Silverstein, president of the contemporary clothing line Parker, agrees. “Never ask basic questions about the company you are interviewing with,” she says.

As a manager, I pretty much work alone

“When discussing your current role, if you are in a leadership or managerial position, never take all the credit for accomplishments,” Silverstein says. “Most successful leaders know that they are only as good as their team. Acknowledging this in an interview will go a long way.”

My group was just like a startup, but inside a big corporation.

“I get the point; however, no corporate experience is really like a startup, especially one that is bootstrapped,” Webster says. “Saying this proves that you don’t really understand the realities of a startup environment.”

What is your holiday policy?

“This question shows me you are already thinking about taking a break,” Mitzen says. “We want workhorses that will make our company stronger, not those thinking about the beach on day one.”

“Sorry, I’m not very punctual.”

It’s not a great idea to highlight a flaw like lateness during your job interview. “Anyone that doesn’t have the discipline to show up on time — or early — isn’t someone we will trust with our clients’ business,” Mitzen says.

“What will my role be?”

In most cases, you should have a good sense of what you’re interviewing for going into the interview. But if you are serious about the opportunity, you want to convey you’re flexible. “Questions like this suggest you will limit yourself to purely what is expected of you, when in reality, your role is whatever you make of it,” says Kon Leong, CEO of ZL Technologies. 

“I’m a guru/expert.”

Be careful about making your accomplishments seem overblown. “I cringe when millennials call themselves experts or gurus at things that take time to master,” like SEO or copywriting, says Keren Kang, CEO of the ad agency Native Commerce. 

“I haven’t updated my blog for a year.”

“I never want to hear about how people start a bunch of things without giving it much commitment or execution,” says Kang. “For example, if you started a blog but only updated it for one week, I don’t need to hear about — The Independent

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