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7 Phrases to Avoid During a Job Interview

Sometimes it’s what you don’t say that gets you the job

It’s easy for Branford Hall students to seek advice about what to say during an interview. All they need to do is schedule an appointment to meet with Career Services.

That said, it’s more difficult to determine what types of statements job applicants might want to avoid. With that in mind, we’ve provided a list of seven common phrases that rookie jobseekers often use, even though they should do their best not to during an initial interview.

1. “Sorry I’m late.” Plan on being early. It creates a good impression. If there’s an unavoidable delay, be considerate – call the interviewer to let him or her know. Otherwise, you may spend the first 15 minutes trying to convince a personnel director that you are, in fact, capable of showing up on time.

2. “I don’t know anything about the organization.” It’s acceptable to say that you’ve done a bit of research but would be interested in hearing more. In fact, doing so may provide the perfect segue. What job candidates want to avoid is providing the sense they had no inclination to learn anything about a potential employer. Information is so accessible these days the majority of companies actually expect incoming applicants to do a little digging on their own.

3. “I wrote out a list of questions.” Every applicant has questions. Fortunately, a thorough interviewer will cover some or all of these during the initial stages of the process. Opening with a rapid-fire list could send a message you’re high-maintenance. Best to be patient, and save any remaining inquiries until the end.

4. “I’m going to require some accommodations in terms of scheduling.” There may be situations where coming in late – or leaving early – is deemed acceptable. Yet an applicant doesn’t want to make that the initial focus of any interview. Earn the interviewer’s respect. There will be time to iron out the details assuming you’re in serious contention for the job.

5. “I have another offer.” If you’re a career training program student or a recent Branford Hall grad, chances are you don’t want to bring this up during an initial interview. A competitive offer may figure into your decision-making process down the road, but mentioning it up front may send a signal that you do not need the position (or that you may not be willing to accept it later on).

6.  “Do you perform any background checks?” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But there’s no better way to arouse suspicion than by asking this type of question unprompted.

7. “So what’s it really like to work here?” Certain applicants might assume a question like this will allow them to build rapport. The problem is there’s no way of knowing how an interviewer will respond. In the end, it’s important to keep in mind that only one of you is there in the hopes of landing a position. It’s a safer bet to remain professional and allow the interviewer to dictate the tone.

Looking for more guidance regarding upcoming job interviews? Make an appointment with the Career Services Department at your local Branford campus.