When you’re interviewing for a job, there’s a lot at stake. You want to get the job—but you also want to show off your personality and make a good impression on the people who could be your coworkers.
However, all it takes is one wrong answer to throw off a hiring manager’s impression of you.
So what are some of the worst things you can say during an interview, and what should you say instead?
Here are some examples of the types of things you should avoid saying during an interview and some tips for giving a great response.
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“Because I’ve got lots of experience and I’m prepared to do the job” or “Because I’m a great fit for the role.”
The reason these answers are bad is that they’re a cop-out. They don’t really explain why you’re interested or qualified for the role, and they make it seem like you’re just trying to get hired for any job, rather than being specifically interested in this one.
Instead, you should be able to answer this question by giving an example of how you’ve helped your previous employers grow their business—and how you’d do the same for this company.
For example, let’s say you’re interviewing for a marketing position. You should say something like:
“Because I have the skills and experience you need for this position. I’ve worked at [company name] for the past three years, and during that time, I collaborated with three different brands on their content marketing strategies.
Each time I was able to increase traffic by at least 15%, and gained a lot of insight into what’s important to our customers and how we can tailor our products and services to better meet their needs.
This means that I’ve developed a keen sense of what will resonate with readers, which will allow me to jump right into this role and hit the ground running.”
This answer shows that you’re confident in yourself and excited about what you can bring to the table. It also emphasizes that you’re there to help the company succeed, not just yourself.
“I was good at my last job because I got along with everyone, and I’m really good at working hard” or “I didn’t really like it. There was no room for growth.”
Wrong! The interviewer wants to know more than that. They want to know what you did on a daily basis, how your role fits into the organization’s goals, and how you performed your duties.
“In my last job, I was responsible for handling incoming customer requests and resolving issues. I worked closely with our customer service team and was in charge of maintaining our internal knowledge base. I also made sure that we had the right tools available for our support staff to access when they needed them.”
By bringing up how your previous experience relates directly to the job that’s being offered, you show that you have a good understanding of what’s needed for the position and can provide value from day one.
Also Read: What To Wear For A Zoom Job Interview?
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“Well, there’s nothing I didn’t like about my previous position” or “There was a lot of pressure.”
Those are pretty generic answers, and they don’t really tell the hiring manager anything about you or your experience.
Instead, take a moment to think about what things at your previous job were challenging and difficult for you personally. Were there co-workers who weren’t supportive? Was there something about the work itself that made it difficult for you?
If so, share that with the interviewer—you’ll come across as honest and thoughtful instead of rehearsed.
“The hardest part about my previous position was having to manage a team of people who weren’t always on the same page. It’s hard when you’re trying to get everyone moving in the right direction, and it’s hard when they aren’t all on board with what you’re trying to do. But I learned a lot from that experience: how important it is to communicate clearly and effectively, and how important it is to be open-minded and flexible.”
This is a good answer because it shows that you’re being sincere, but also that you are able to put things in perspective, which says a lot about your work ethic and skills.
“I’m a hard worker, and I have a lot of energy” or “I’m dedicated to my family, and I love to read and play tennis.”
These are terrible answers because they’re way too vague. The interviewer wants to know about your experience and how you’ve used that knowledge in your past jobs.
You should also make sure your answer is tailored to the job at hand—so if you’re applying for an office job, don’t talk about how much you love playing tennis!
The best answer to this question is one that’s personal and specific but also highlights your skills. For example:
“I’ve been working in the tech industry for five years now. I started out as a Junior Full-Stack Developer, and after four years of hard work, I was promoted to my previous position. I take pride in my work, and I always strive to do the best job possible. In fact, I’ve received great feedback from previous employers on my work ethic and attention to detail. And now I’m super excited about this opportunity because it’s a great way to use my skills and apply them in a new environment.”
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“I can’t think of any right now” or “I’m too passionate about my work.”
These are bad answers because you’re basically saying that you don’t have a weakness, which means there isn’t anything about you that could be improved upon. And if there’s no room for improvement in your skills, then why would the company want you?
A much better answer would be something like:
“I’m always trying to improve my communication skills. I’m not great at speaking up for myself, so sometimes it can be hard for me to get my point across clearly.”
This shows that you’re aware of your shortcomings and that you’re working on improving them.
“I’m a hard worker” or “I’m a team player.”
These are kind of cliche, and they don’t really tell the interviewer anything. They can ask you your strengths, things you’ve done in the past that shows your ability to work hard or collaborate with others, and then you’ll have to come up with an example.
Instead, try this:
“I’m really driven by quality work. I like to make sure that every piece of work I turn in is as polished as possible, and I always want to do better than my best. That’s why I’m so excited about this job—it sounds like there’s definitely room for growth and improvement in what you do here.”
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“I see myself in the same position I’d be in now, but with more responsibility” or “I want to become the CEO of my own company.”
These answers are bad for a few reasons:
First, they’re not specific. They don’t tell the interviewer what you’re doing to improve your skills and abilities so that you can take on more responsibility in the future.
Second, they don’t demonstrate that you have an interest in continuing to grow as an employee.
Finally, they show that you haven’t thought about your career path at all—you’re just going to keep doing what you’re doing until they decide that they’ve had enough of you!
The best response to this common interview question is one that shows initiative and enthusiasm. For example:
“In five years, I hope to be moving up into a leadership role, working with other departments to help them improve their processes and productivity rates. My goal is to be able to take on more responsibility within this company and become more valuable over time.”
Also Read: Bad Company Culture Examples
“Because I like your company”, or “Because I need a new job.”
This is the sort of answer that makes it seem like you don’t have any real interest in the position or company. The hiring manager wants to know that you’ve done your research and are genuinely excited about the opportunity.
Instead, say something like:
“I’m excited about the opportunity to use my [relevant experience] in a new way.”
But then add something else that shows them your interest in the role goes beyond just needing a paycheck—like how much it would mean to you to work at this company or how passionate you are about its mission.
That way they’ll get a sense of who YOU are as an applicant instead of just being concerned with whether or not they can pay your bills.
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“I don’t know.”, or “I know you sell skincare products.”
It’s never a good idea to say, “I don’t know,” in an interview because it shows that you’re not very interested in the company and the position.
Even if you don’t know much about their products or services, you should at least be able to find out some basic information about them online before your interview.
The best answer to this question is one that shows you did your research and understand the company’s mission, values, and recent news.
For example, if the company is a startup that’s looking to disrupt an industry by making it more accessible or affordable, then be sure to talk about how you can help them do that.
If the company has just announced some sort of partnership with another company in your field, use that as an opportunity to mention how much you love working with other companies like them.
Here’s an example:
”I’ve been reading about your company for a while now, and I think it’s an amazing company. You guys are leaders in the recycling industry and have an amazing culture that’s focused on growth.
Some of your products are extremely innovative and forward-thinking. I’m particularly interested in the new line of [product name]. It’s clear that you care about what you do, and I hope that means I’ll be able to learn a lot from the knowledge base at your company”.
“Sure, I’m a team player.” or “Yes, but I’m used to working on my own.”
These are bad answers because this question is asking about how you work on a team, not just whether or not you do.
There are many other characteristics of being a good team player that are not addressed by this statement. For example, if you’re only willing to do things your way and don’t take any input from anyone else, then it doesn’t matter if you’re a team player—you won’t be able to work well with anyone!
When answering this question, think about situations where you’ve been on a team or project that has required collaboration.
The best way to answer this question is to highlight your past experiences and describe how you’ve worked well with others in those situations. Share an example of a time when you had to work with someone who wasn’t on board with your ideas or who disagreed with you about something.
“I do. I’m a team player. I’ve been in charge of a few different projects at my previous jobs, and I always had to work closely with my co-workers to make sure we were all on the same page about our goals and how we were going to get there.
That means I’m used to communicating clearly and being open-minded when someone has a different opinion or suggestion than mine so that we can come up with ideas that are best for everyone involved”.
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“I don’t know” or “I’ll take whatever you’re offering.”
First, if you’re a candidate for the position, you should know what your salary range is. When you don’t have a clue, it makes the interviewer wonder if you’ve done any research on the position, or if you’re willing to negotiate up or down.
The second answer is also a terrible thing to say. It’s not that people don’t have to make money, but it’s never a good idea to put yourself in a position where money has become the deciding factor in whether or not someone will hire you—especially when they’re considering other things like your experience and skill set.
Instead of saying this, try something like:
Also Read: Best Questions To Ask The Interviewer
“I’m looking for somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000. What are your thoughts?”
This answer shows that you have done your research and know what the average salary is for someone doing this job at companies similar to yours. And because it gives them room to negotiate, it shows that you’re willing to be flexible!
“No, I don’t have any.”
This is the worst answer you can possibly give. Why? Because you’re basically telling the interviewer that you don’t have any interest in learning more about the company and what they do.
Instead, ask them about their career development program and how long it usually takes for employees to advance within the company. Or ask them what an average day in the life of a person in the position you’re applying for looks like.
Here you have some other examples of good answers:
“What are some of the biggest challenges facing your team today?” or “How long is the training period?”
Remember: they don’t have to be complicated or technical; they just need to show that you’re engaged in what they’re doing and excited about joining their team.
Also Read: Jobs That Hire At Age 15, Even 14
When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s important to know what answers are going to make you stand out from the crowd.
You also want to know how to answer questions so that your potential employer knows that you’re a good fit for the position.
The examples listed above will help you know what not to say in an interview, as well as give you some ideas about how to answer questions more effectively.
And remember: the best way to ensure that you don’t give off any of these 12 worst job interview answers is to practice, practice, and practice some more!
Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.