Nerves can get the best of you during an interview. Anxiety causes slips of the tongue that will leave you kicking yourself and interviewers scratching their heads. Nervousness is normal, and interviewers expect you to have jitters. But there is a line between a healthy dose of apprehension and providing unnecessary information.
The statements below are the most common negative statements made by interviewees.
Negative statement #1: “I’m here to interview you as well. I have a couple of questions that I intend to ask you.”
Reason to avoid: Though it’s true that the interview should be a two-way street, there is such a thing as being too aggressive. You will have an opportunity to ask questions. Don’t announce your intention to do so. It’s not necessary, and it’s bad form. Instead, simply ask questions throughout the interview or wait until the interviewer asks if you have any questions.
Negative statement #2: “Before we go further, what is the salary for the position? I don’t want to waste your time or mine.”
Reason to avoid: Making this negative statement puts the interviewer on the defensive. He’ll question your intentions and most likely go through the formality of the interview having already eliminated your candidacy. The statement is also a tactical error because salary is always flexible. Requesting the interviewer to reveal salary before you have the opportunity to sell yourself will surely backfire because the interviewer didn’t have the chance to assess your skills. If you have a notion that the salary may be too low, remain calm; go through the motions of the interview; and hear what the interviewer has to say. You might be surprised by the outcome.
Negative statement #3: “I’m not sure I want this position.”
Reason to avoid: An interview setting is not a confessional. Your interview goal is to receive a job offer, even if you aren’t sure whether you want the job. Set aside your unenthusiastic inner thoughts, and focus your energy on discovering information about the position and the hiring organization. Who knows, you may change your mind once you hear all the facts.
Negative statement #4: “Please tell me your company’s plan for the future and whether or not it is profitable.”
Reason to avoid: You should research the company before going to an interview. You can visit its web site and read the most recent press releases to learn information about the facility, its management team, potential expansions, mergers, acquisitions, promotions, etc. If the company is publicly traded, you will be able to read its Annual Report on the Internet or at your local library.
Negative statement #5: “I didn’t get along with my previous employer.”
Reason to avoid: It is unprofessional to criticize former employers and professional associates. Always maintain a professional demeanor and avoid saying anything disparaging. You may discreetly reveal that you did not share the same philosophy, management style, or vision, but do not elaborate on any specific problems you had with them.
Negative statement #6: “I can’t think of any weaknesses that I have.”
Reason to avoid: Most interviewers ask about your strengths and weaknesses. Few individuals do not have weaknesses and if you portray yourself as believing you are perfect, you may be perceived as being arrogant, or inflexible. You should reflect on characteristics that you can improve upon to enhance your skills or effectiveness, to give a positive spin to your "weaknesses." For example: “I can be a workaholic when given a tight deadline and sometimes that negatively impacts on the time that I spend with my family on my day off.”
Negative statement #7: “What type of time off do I receive? I need to be off during my religious holidays.”
Reason to avoid: Most companies provide personal days and vacation days based on length of service. Discussing time off before you receive the job may give the impression that you are more concerned with your days off than being a dedicated hard-working employee. Also, try to avoid any conversations about religion or politics.
It’s fine to ask the interviewer questions that are important to you. However, you should do so with finesse. Creating an uncomfortable environment will make the interview memorable, but not in a positive way. Interviews are only as daunting as you decide they are. With that in mind, make a conscious decision to enjoy the process. Take in what the interviewer has to say and think about what you plan to say in advance, being careful not to offend or create a negative image.
This article is a collaboration of the Casino Careers Recruitment Team and Linda Matias. Ms. Matias is certified in all three areas of the job search - Certified Interview Coach (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW).