What Not to Say in an Interview

What Not to Say in an Interview


After five hours on an interview panel today, it got me thinking about all the uninspiring responses to interview questions that I have heard from applicants over the years.  Today, we had a couple of doozies which compelled me to bullet point a few of the better ones that I remember over the years.

  • My alarm didn’t go off this morning because the power went out and at 9:30 a.m. when I finally woke up….
  • Is this job clerical?
  • No, I don’t know how to do XX but this job is on a team so surely someone else on the team knows how.
  • Do you have any questions about the position?  No.
  • What would you do if XX happened on a project?  That has never happened to me so I wouldn’t know how I would react.
  • I am a people person and I get along with everyone.
  • I have a terminally ill mother to take care of, a sick son, and I only moved here because of Katrina.
  • I am always looking for my next opportunity.
  • My husband is always working and I am bored so I am looking for something to give me purpose.
  • I think outside the box all the time.
  • I don’t know (to a core competency for the position).
  • Saying absolutely nothing… just crickets.
  • Was that preassignment intentional vague?

Interviews are highly stressful for most people so collect your wits, practice with a trusted colleague, and think before you speak.  If you do mispeak, just admit it to the panel and make a course correction quickly.  Don’t leave them laughing as most interviews are not auditions for a comedy show.

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