“I’m completely new at this.”

It’s fine to be completely new to an industry or type of job. In fact, you might be applying for a junior position, where it’s expected. However, the last thing you want to do is show that you’ve done nothing to get started in becoming competent and are expecting everything to be taught to you on the job. Take the initiative to know more than might be expected of you and be prepared to show that you’re a very teachable, eager employee.

“I’m an industry veteran.”

Calling yourself an “industry veteran” can be risky, especially if you do so on shaky ground. It’s always a bad idea to overhype your experience in a job interview, but when it comes to veterancy, you will be called on it. Industry veterans come with not just the years of experience, but the contacts and relationships needed to succeed in a role. If you don’t measure up to that standard, keep away from calling yourself a veteran, or risk getting caught in a lie.

“My weakness is that I work too hard.”

Don’t turn your “greatest weakness” answer into a hidden strength answer – it’s easy to see through and your interviewer’s heard it hundreds of times before. The answer to this question is your opportunity to show that you recognize things about yourself that you need to work on and are tackling your problems actively.

“I want to change everything about your business.”

You might not say exactly that, but a lot of advice on the web nowadays leads people to take some sort of a shock-and-awe strategy in job interviews by encouraging them to throw out radical business ideas at their interviewer. It’s a great idea to show that you’ve thought about their business, understand it, and have ideas to bring to the table. But stay respectful -- they do what they do for a reason, so suggesting they throw everything out for your wiz-kid plans can definitely backfire.

Interview Advice

“I don’t know.”

While you may not have the answer to every question that an interviewer asks you, the point of the interview isn’t to have all the answers, but to show how you process information and solve problems. Indicate that you aren’t positive about your answer, take time to think, and make a best guess while talking about your reasons for believing your answer might be true. Simply refusing to answer a question is bad form.

“I hate my old job.”

No matter how you may feel about your old company, one of the worst things you can do is bad-mouth them. It shows a lack of respect and loyalty that raises a huge red flag for any interviewer. Why would they want to hire you if they run the risk of you bad-mouthing them.

“When I was in high school...”

Unless what you did in high school was super impressive or super relevant, it’s too far back in the past and will probably make the interviewer feel like you don’t have much else to talk about. Rely on more recent experiences and talk instead about skills you have or are learning today.

“Can you tell me more about what your company does?”

This is an instant sign of a careless and unfocused candidate who didn’t care enough to do their research ahead of time. Don’t be the candidate that blindly applies to every position. Focus your job search.

“My old boss drove me crazy!”

The interviewer doesn’t know you or your old boss. So, just like telling them you hated your last job, talking bad about your boss is a bad idea. It’s a red flag that indicates you may not be trustworthy or respond well to authority. They don’t know if you were the problem and have no reason to believe it was your boss, other than your words. Instead, focus on the parts of your last job you didn’t like and that you’re looking to change by acquiring a new role.

“I’m hoping to start my own company soon.”

Hiring managers tend to admire entrepreneurial drive in their candidates. It’s usually a sign of someone who likes to come up with their own ideas and takes the lead on projects. However, you might be giving them the wrong impression if you’re too enthusiastic about your future plans. It could indicate that you might only be around for a few months or a year before you head on to start your own team, making an investment in you a risky bet. Feel free to talk about your ambitions, but keep it short.

“I don’t have any questions for you.”

If you don’t have any questions for an interviewer, you show a lack of interest and inquisitiveness. Show that you care about the interviewer, the company, and the role by asking meaningful questions that get to the heart of issues like culture, everyday life, team dynamics, and the company’s recent successes and failures.

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