10 Things Never to Say in a Job Interview
Most job interview questions are open-ended, and there usually isn’t one right answer. Rather, a good answer depends on your experiences and interests. However, that’s not to say that anything goes when it comes to job interviews. There are some answers you should never give, no matter how understanding the interviewer may seem. Here are ten interview killers to avoid no matter what.
1. “I don’t want this job.”
Companies are looking to hire people who genuinely want to work for them. If you indicate that you’re not enthusiastic about a position, they’ll see you as someone who’s going to quit, raise their turnover rate, and add to their hiring costs. Don’t express any ambivalence or doubts about your desire to take the job. And when you’re asked why you want the position, you should have a specific answer ready instead of shrugging it off or saying, “I’m not sure.” Of course, if you truly don’t want the job, you should probably reconsider what you’re doing at this interview and go apply for something different that would be a better fit.
2. “I’m not qualified for this job.”
Some people try to downplay their abilities in an interview or admit to feeling unqualified. Unfortunately, if you say this, the employer may take it at face value and decide to hire someone who’s more confident that they can do the job. Remember that it’s often not strictly necessary to meet every qualification listed in a job ad, as long as you have relevant skills and can learn to do the work. If an employer called you in for an interview, your application probably showed some potential. Don’t sell yourself short.
3. “I don’t like this company/location/market.”
Don’t badmouth anything about the employer or its guests—even if it just seems like minor nitpicking. At the first sign of a negative attitude, the hiring manager will likely remove you from consideration. Keep gripes to yourself.
4. “I’m just in it for the money.”
Earning money may be one of your main motivations for seeking employment, but it’s not a good idea to say this outright. Interviewers usually regard this type of statement as unprofessional, and they may worry that you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme rather than a job that requires hard work.
5. “I want to leave this job in a couple of months.”
Unless you are applying for an exclusively seasonal position, announcing your desire to move on will probably take you out of the running. Hospitality employers often grapple with high turnover rates and don’t want to hire someone who will already have a foot out the door.
6. “I hated my last job.”
Your previous job may have been terrible, and your feelings about it could be completely justified, but the hiring manager doesn’t need to know about them. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re hard to get along with or that you don’t thrive as a team player, so don’t air complaints. Plus, you don’t know if your interviewer has worked for your previous employer or if he or she is friends with your previous boss.
7. “I don’t have a plan.”
You will probably be asked where you see yourself in five years or how you hope to grow with the company. Saying that you don’t plan for the future will make the interviewer think you don’t take your work seriously. Your plan can be subject to change, but you should at least have some provisional ideas ready to share.
8. “I don’t like working with other people.”
The interviewer will almost certainly be alarmed if you say you’re averse to dealing with guests or coworkers. Hospitality is all about helping and interacting with others, whether you’re working in the front or back of house. It’s okay to identify as an introvert, but openness to meeting new people and a desire to be part of a team are musts.
9. “How soon would I get promoted?”
There are many opportunities for promotion in hotels or restaurants. However, this rarely happens overnight. Employers will require you to gain experience and demonstration mastery in one role because you can move up to the next. Asking a pointed question about promotion in an interview may lead the hiring manager to conclude that you have unrealistic expectations for the promotion timeline or that you don’t care about the job you’re actually applying for. It’s okay to mention that you hope to rise through the ranks later in your career, but be careful not to sound impatient on this subject.
10. “I love your competitors.”
People generally don’t walk into job interviews intending to praise the company’s competitors, but it’s possible to commit this faux pas accidentally if you don’t do sufficient research. Before your interview, check who the company’s main competitors are. Also pay attention to which brands are owned by its parent company, whether it has subsidiaries, and whether it has recently acquired or merged with any other businesses. Check if a venue is part of a chain, if it’s a franchise, and if there are multiple locations under the same management. Don’t assume that there’s a business relationship between two venues just because the names are similar; many hotels and restaurants have some similarities in their names or branding by coincidence. You don’t want to get these details mixed up and mention a competitor when you actually meant to refer to a sister brand.