Watch Your Mouth: What Not to Say in an Interview

Posted by Liz Seasholtz on June 15, 2011
Watch Your Mouth: What Not to Say in an Interview

Everybody trips over a few words or flubs an answer now and again during an interview. And that's OK-recruiters don't expect a perfect batting average. But there are some comments that are sure to get your interviewer to say, "Thanks for stopping by."

"What does your company do?"
Anything you can find out on a website is unacceptable to ask, says Brad Karsh, founder of career consulting company JobBound and recruiter at an advertising firm. "Any questions like, 'Where are you located? Who's your president? What does your business do?' shows you didn't do your preparation. And if you're that unprepared for an interview, what are you going to be like to work with?"

"Damn, the weather really sucks today"

Your suit may be pressed and your shoes shined, but if you curse or use slang, you'll look unrefined and reckless. Karsh says one of his worst job candidates wouldn't stop swearing and-believe it or not-making disparaging comments about women and minorities in his interview.

"Did I bomb that question.?"

Interview questions are tough, and thinking on your feet is never easy. Lewis Lin, founder of Seattle Interview Coach and former hiring manager for Microsoft and Google, says many candidates appear insecure by questioning whether they answered well. "Take a deep breath, be confident, and then answer these unexpected questions as best as you can."

"When are you due?"
Even if your interviewer looks eight months pregnant, avoid comments that may come off as invasive: Defer to your interviewer to bring up personal topics for conversation. Same goes for family photos/memorabilia in her office: You might mistake a photo of the interviewer's niece as his wife, or assume he went to Penn State if he's using a Nittany Lion coffee mug.

"My old company is declaring bankruptcy this month, but they had it coming"
Never divulge sensitive information or badmouth a former employer. Not only will it make the hiring manager weary of trusting you, says Karsh, but you never know who they know at your former job-it could get back to the wrong person.

This article is from the fall 2010 issue of Jungle Campus.

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