Interview Tips: 5 Things to Never Say In An Interview

Last month we published an article entitled “How Do I Prepare”. We got some great feedback and engagement. In that article we talked about the right things to do. It felt natural to then publish a friendly reminder to people, of things you should never do! It is important of course to remember that it’s ok to make mistakes and fail, and that you learn from these experiences. But when it comes to interviews sometimes you don’t get a second chance! So take a look at these 5 things to avoid and let us know your thoughts.

Richard Edge
September 17, 2021

Number 1. Sorry I’m late.

Sometimes, life happens. The wonders of the world we operate in is that it can’t all be planned. If something comes up and you can’t make the interview due to an emergency then make sure to engage the employer at the earliest opportunity to let them know.

Turning up late however is unacceptable. Even more so if your interview is online. There are simply no excuses for tardiness when it comes to looking to impress someone that potentially has a significant part to play in the success of your career and your life. It shows a lack of respect and courtesy.

If it’s an in person interview you are also missing out on an opportunity to learn a bit more about the people you are meeting. What are the offices like? Do people you pass in the corridor look happy? Is it well organised?

Recently a client of ours turned up for their interview and because she got there 20 minutes early which is very sensible, they got confused and set her to the wrong department/floor. An hour later the interviewers found her and it was a bit of a shambles. This tells you all you need to know about that organisation!


Number 2. I’m so glad to be here, my current boss is an ass!


This might be true! They say that people don’t leave organisations, they leave bosses!

But your current employer doesn’t need to know this as it may appear that you are the difficult one as they don’t have the full context. In an interview which usually lasts somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes there isn’t usually enough time to describe the political context of previous broken relationships. The aim is to try and be as positive and future looking as possible.

Sometimes, it's wise to draw on previous examples when asked questions and provide context but try to stay politically and personally neutral. Unless you’ve done substantial research it’s unlikely you will know what the opinions of your interviewer will be about your current boss and you could be seeking to estrange them from considering you their favourite candidate. Focus on the positives, focus on the future and don’t take baggage from a previously broken professional relationship into the start of a new one.


Number 3. How much leave do I get?


People often think an interview is a good time to ask about flexible working or leave, or promotion opportunities.

These things aren’t important but the interview is not the time. Focus on impressing, being constructive and talking about the employer and their needs. Once they decide you are the right candidate for them, then is the time to focus on negotiating the right terms for you.

An interview is often like a game of poker. You show some of your hand first with your application and a bit more in the interview, but ultimately you need to understand what the house is holding if you are going to have a chance to win. Therefore hold back on demands and personally focused contractual requests, until you know what they think of you.


Number 4. I don’t have any weaknesses.


They say in life two things are inevitable. Death and Taxes. The third is that no one is perfect. Every single human on the planet has weaknesses. The key to answering this question in an interview is both truly understanding your own but ensuring that they are articulated in a way that won’t sabotage your chances of being the best candidate.

By not being able to articulate your weaknesses, it shows alack of internal depth and in some cases could be construed as arrogant, both traits are things which shouldn’t be showcased in an interview.

Number 5. This would be a great stepping stone for me.


It’s very reasonable in your career to strategise for the medium to long term. In fact it’s recommended.

Very rarely does an individual over the course of their circa 40 year career bounce from one role to the next without any planning, then come to retirement, look back and think “yes that was the best possible scenario that ever could have happened to me”. Winning takes planning.

In some cases you may plan to make a career move as a stepping stone, but no human being likes to be considered a stepping stone and if you articulate this to your potential employer they are unlikely to be positive about it. You are seeking to embark on a new professional and contractual relationship and a key element of this as well as it being the right fit for you is ensuring it’s a right fit for the other party. Treat them with respect, authenticity and dignity and avoid any crass statements or anything that may feel like you are using them.It’s not a company your joining, it’s a new line manager. People have feelings whether they are conscious or unconscious and turning them off is not a positive step to take.

To get some complimentary tips on this for your next interview message us with the codeword "CareershipsTips” and you will get a real golden nugget specifically for your next interview that will help you stand out above the rest.


We hope you enjoyed our article. If you have mastered all of the above and want to really understand how to put your best foot forward in your next interview, get in touch with our CEO Richard Edge for a complimentary consultation.

All the best,

Richard Edge

CEO & Career Coach | Careerships

Book in via for a free 30-minute Zoom call to learn how we’ll clear your path to success.

Careerships help professionals across 31 countries make substantial changes in their careers and lives.

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