1. “I’m amazing at what I do.”
There’s a difference between bragging and exuding genuine confidence. Your goal is to show, not tell. When you tell the interviewer you’re amazing at what you do, you’re assuming they’re going to believe you simply because you said it. Often, they won’t.
But, when you show the interviewer you’re amazing through examples, stories, and accomplishments, you paint a picture that allows them to deduce that you’re amazing at what you do. You give them the opportunity to conclude on their own that you would be beneficial to the team. So the next time you’re asked why you believe you’re the best person for the position, skip the fluff and get to the results you can bring to the table.
2. “I’m not good at this but...”
Imagine hearing your partner say, “I don’t love you but…” Your first response would be, “Excuse me, what?” Regardless of whatever reassuring words may follow that statement, you’ve already clocked out. You could care less about anything else they say because you’re still only thinking about those first five words. That’s how you should imagine your interviewer feels when you say, “I’m not good at this but…” or “I don’t have much experience in this area but…”
Words stick, so even if you don’t have much experience in a particular area, your language still matters. Go straight into the experience you do have or the skills you have that will enable you to be an asset anyway or that shows you’re well equipped for the challenge. Whatever you do, don’t preface your statements with those words.
3. “In my current position, I make...”
Your current salary has nothing to do with your future salary. That’s still an unpopular opinion, but the quicker you let that sink in, the quicker you’ll be amongst the people who secure $20K+ salary increases with their new positions. Your current salary doesn’t convey the worth you bring to a new role or company. It doesn’t symbolize the skills, ideas, and solutions you can offer the team. Adding it to the conversation, especially before you receive an official job offer, is a quick way to limit your earning potential.
4. “[Anything negative or unnecessary about your current company.]”
You’d think only amateurs make this mistake, but you’d be surprised. Talking about what’s missing from your current company or the skills your current manager lacks, even as a way to explain what you’re looking for next, still counts as badmouthing your current company. You want to avoid saying things like: “In my current role, I don’t feel challenged and supported by my manager and I’m really wanting to transition to a company that supports their team members and offers guidance and mentorship. That’s why I’m so interested in the opportunity to work here.”
Instead of talking about what’s been missing at your current company, just focus on what you want next and subtract all the extra details.
5. “I’m ready to start on Monday.”
While you’re probably ready to get started as soon as possible, you also want to seem competitive and not desperate. Even if you are currently unemployed, top candidates are usually weighing their options and deciding between job offers. Saying you’re ready to start as soon as possible doesn’t give hiring managers the impression that you’re a competitive top candidate, and it doesn’t give you much wiggle room to negotiate a top-dollar salary since you’ve already shown you’re eager to start no matter what.
On the other hand, if you’re currently working elsewhere, jumping the gun and saying you’re willing to start without putting in your two-weeks notice signals to interviewers that you’ll probably leave them hanging the same way in the future. It can also make them wonder how valuable you truly are in your current role since you don’t seem to have any projects or responsibilities you need to tie up before resigning and starting at a new company.
6. “My weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.”
Please, spare us. Having interviewed candidates for roles in the past, a huge pet peeve is hearing someone try to spin their strength into a weakness. We want to know your weakness. No one is perfect or has everything together, so it’s better to be upfront about your real weakness and share the steps you’ve taken to improve it than to give interviewers an answer you think they want to hear. This will allow you to seem more self-aware and mindful of your professional development than saying something like “I'm a perfectionist” or “I tend to move very fast-paced when it comes to getting things done.”
7. “No, I don’t have any questions.”
You should always, always have questions. Even if you had questions in mind that the interviewer happened to answer during the conversation, you should have more questions. You’re interviewing them, just as much as they’re interviewing you. Asking questions is the best way to help you make an informed decision. Asking insightful questions is your chance to further prove you’re the person they need to get the job done, while also ensuring the role is truly a good fit for you too.