Job Interview Answers Not to Use
By Joe Issid
In many cases, an interview is a necessary evil that stands between you and your dream job. So, it is not unreasonable to assume that you will say whatever you believe the interviewer wants to hear to secure said position. To wit, as a hiring manager, I have sat through countless interviews throughout my career and have heard my fair share of overblown and unconvincing responses. And, as such, I have witnessed a great many candidates ruin their chances by dropping the ball during the interview. Now, I fully admit that many interviewers share equal blame by offering up pithy and meaningless questions that are very difficult to answer convincingly. However, most candidates should be well prepared to answer these types of questions as they have become so commonplace. For instance, there is no elegant way to answer "why do you want this job?" without over-selling your desire or coming up with a pre-rehearsed line that you read on the internet. So, rather than allow you to fumble your way through your next interview, here are some common answers that I hear during interviews and why to stay away from them.
I'm looking for a new challenge
When I hear this, I simply assume that you are concealing the real reason why you are looking for something new.
Tip: Be as honest you can be about why are looking (without coming across as petty or bitter).
I'm a great team player
You should always refrain from making such simple and qualitative statements. To me, this comes across as insincere and lazy.
Tip: Walk your interviewer through some previous experiences where your collaboration with other colleagues was instrumental to your project's success. Show, don't tell.
You won't regret hiring me
I am always struck when I hear something along these lines during an interview. I understand that you are on edge and likely feeling insecure, but exhibiting such a lack of confidence can be unappealing.
Tip: always remember that they need you as much as you need them.
I am the perfect candidate
That may very well be the case but most interviewers would prefer to determine that for themselves. Additionally, this can make you look presumptuous and over-confident - especially considering that there many things about the position that you may know nothing about.
Tip: Tone down the rhetoric and lay out your case in a meaningful and organized way. If you are indeed the perfect candidate, the interviewer will recognize this without you mentioning it.
I'm a workaholic
While you may indeed be a hard-worker, identifying yourself in such a way can appear troubling to a recruiter.
Tip: Refer to examples of how your hard work has yielded positive results throughout your career. Avoid labeling yourself in any way during an interview.
I don't have any salary expectations
To me, this is always puzzling as the likeliest reason why you are interviewing for the position is to get paid. And yes, your interviewer is fully aware of this.
Tip: Be assertive and explain that you have a reasonable expectation of what your skills are worth and are willing to have an honest discussion about it.
I don't like to be micromanaged
Depending on how this is said, it can come across as a subtle threat to the hiring manager.
Tip: Don't focus on what you don't like in a manager - even if you are expressly asked. Spin the question around to focus on the positive attributes you look for in a supervisor.