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These phrases could prevent you from getting a job
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Written by Natalie Barresi

Branded Content Creator

Avoid these 10 phrases that could hurt your chances of getting hired


Don’t give an interviewer reasons not to hire you. These simple phrases might seem harmless but they can quickly hurt your chances of getting hired.  

You want to show employers that you’re professional, confident and a good fit for their company so sell yourself well and show recruiters that you can bring value to their organization.

Here are 10 phrases that you should avoid during your job search:


1. Something negative about your last job


When you’re looking for a job, it’s important to be positive. After all, you want to show your interviewer that you can offer something valuable. Don’t say anything negative about your last job.

While you may be changing jobs to leave a toxic workplace, speaking poorly about your previous employer can make it seem like you aren’t loyal and can’t deal with potential conflicts. It might also suggest that you will be hard to work with or will spend your time complaining. 

Try to think of positive things to say or remain neutral, remember that it’s about what you gained from the experience and the results you obtained.


2. “It’s on my CV”


Yes, recruiters have already read your skills and experience on your CV but they want you to go in depth. This is your chance to talk about your achievements and what you have done.

It can be frustrating when a recruiter asks you something that is on your CV but this will help them get a better understanding of what you can bring to their company. Don’t assume they know everything about your experience and qualifications – they don’t!

They want to hear about specific examples of how you’ve done something similar or better than what they’re looking for at their company.


3. Avoid slang


Don’t use slang or abbreviations in your cover letters, CV, and in job interviews. Use proper grammar and spelling, even if you think it might “lose some authenticity.”

Use proper grammar: simple errors will make employers think that you can’t write well enough to do the job. Or that you don’t care enough to read over your work. 

Be professional, don’t swear: If you have a habit of swearing around friends and family, remember that employers will expect professionalism from their employees — including themselves. Swearing is never appropriate in an interview (or any other professional setting), so try to keep it out of your vocabulary entirely when applying for jobs.


4. “I don’t know”


You might not know how to answer a question but you should always try to respond with a real answer. Saying “I don’t know” can come off as a lack of preparation or like you don’t really care.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not knowing what to say in an interview and how to answer certain questions. It’s not always easy to think of the right words to say on the spot but you can say something like, “I haven’t experienced that situation but I would look into more and ask questions like…”. 

You may not have the answer but if you show that you have the motivation to learn, that can mean a lot to hiring managers. 

In these scenarios, try to keep your answers short. If you start rambling, you’ll just dig yourself into a hole. If you don’t understand the interviewer’s question, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.


5. Ask what the organization does


If you’re trying to find out more about the company during the interview, you’re showing that you haven’t done your research and will make recruiters feel the interview is a waste of time.

If you can’t find information online, then of course you can ask for more details in the interview. However, you should have a basic understanding of what the company does before your job interview. 

Look at the company website and their social media pages to find out what their values and goals are. Having this knowledge will also help you know if you really want to work there or not.


6. “I don’t have any questions”


Not having any questions prepared can leave the impression that you aren’t very interested in the role or weren’t listening during the interview. The worst thing you can do is leave without asking anything, so ask one question no matter how small it seems.

It’s important to show that you’re engaged and interested, so research the company beforehand and prepare questions. Ask about the company culture, how many people will be on your potential team, what the company’s future goals are and so on. 

Asking questions shows your enthusiasm to learn more about the role and company.


7. Bring up vacation time or salaries


“How much does this job pay?” “When do I get a vacation? If you’re interviewing for a job, it’s not the time to discuss salary or vacation time. You don’t want to seem like you’re desperate for a particular amount of money, and you don’t want to make your prospective employer uncomfortable by asking about something they’ve yet to offer.

These topics are best left for until after an offer is made. And even then, it’s better to ask questions like “What types of bonuses do employees typically receive?” or “What sort of benefits package will be offered?”

IF you want to find out about a company’s benefits, try looking at the company’s website or doing some research online. Don’t ask about these things during the interview itself — that’ll give the impression that you don’t care much about the job and that you’re only interested in the money and benefits.


8. “I don’t remember”


This response, much like “I don’t know”, makes it seem like you aren’t prepared and aren’t very enthusiastic about getting the job. 

If this is your reply to something related to your skills or experience, it could seem like some things on your CV might not be true. 

Remember to take a breath, think it through and give a better answer than just “I don’t remember”.  Keep it concise and avoid rambling.


9. Speak poorly about yourself


You want to show confidence during a job interview and making self-deprecating comments, even as a joke, isn’t a good idea. If recruiters see that you aren’t confident in your abilities, how do you expect them to feel good about having you on their team?

Luckily by practicing  answers and focusing on your strengths, you can build your confidence and have much better results in interviews.


10. “So how’d I do?”


Asking for feedback right at the end of the interview can make the interviewer feel rushed and uncomfortable. They need time to reflect and think. A few days after the job interview, you can follow up with a thank you email. This shows your interest for the role but isn’t too forceful. 


💡“What are your salary expectations?” is one of the most uncomfortable job interview questions. So how can you answer it in a way that ensures you’ll receive what you deserve? Read more here →



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