9 Things a Candidate Shouldn’t Say to You in an Interview

9 Things a Candidate Shouldn’t Say to You in an Interview

We often talk about what signs you should look out for when interviewing a candidate.

But what about the things a candidate shouldn’t say during an interview?

The issue is that a lot of industries and positions are very competitive these days.

So, trying to choose between a group of equally as qualified professionals isn’t easy.

A cheeky trick to sort the contenders from the pretenders is to listen out for certain lines.

While a candidate may know what to say, nerves and inexperience can result in them saying some things they shouldn’t say.

It may sound a little negative, but it certainly will make your hiring decision 10x easier!

To get you started, here are nine things a candidate shouldn’t say to you in an interview.

“I’m really nervous”

As we mentioned in our candidate blog, any professional who turns around and admits that they’re nervous isn’t a positive sign.

They’re effectively making an excuse in advance for a poor interview or admitting how unconfident they are.

As an employer, most of your candidates will be feeling some sort of nerves.

After all, an interview isn’t a natural everyday thing.

However, when a candidate openly starts on a negative, they’re giving you a reason to doubt them.

Will you feel confident having someone who gets this nervous taking on big responsibilities within your business?

“What kind of benefits and holiday do you offer?”

This question is an absolute no-no!

If a candidate says this in some shape or form, this should set off alarm bells in your head.

While company benefits are becoming increasingly important to candidates, asking this in a first interview is a tell-tale sign that they’re only in it for themselves.

Instead, they should be focusing on explaining how they can add value to your company and demonstrating their ability to work in a team.

As the interviewer, you can then cover these points without being prompted.

“I’ll do whatever”

A willingness to try and learn new things is great.

Although, a candidate who says this might indicate that they’re just desperate for a job – and not the actual position you’re advertising for.

Your candidate needs to be passionate and willing to excel in the role.

This will ensure your business thrives.

“I’m a fast-learner”

This type of line is a tricky one.

While acquiring someone who picks processes up quickly is a positive for productivity, it can also harm staff retention rates too.

Think of it this way, if an employee learns at a rapid rate, they’ll constantly be demanding more training opportunities and challenges.

If you don’t offer them, they’ll move on.

Take this statement with a pinch of salt and assess their answer based on your interview question.

“I can work well in any environment”

This type of line is usually said in response to an interview question like; “What kind of environment do you like to work in?”

When a candidate feeds you this line, they’re sitting on the fence.

Honesty is the best policy here.

Ideally, you want someone who describes your working environment.

However, if they say something opposite, give them kudos for giving you a straight-up answer.

At least, you can question this opposing statement with further interview questions like; “So, you wouldn’t be comfortable working in an open office then?”

“I work well independently and in a team”

On the face of it, when a candidate says this, it’s usually positive.

Although, it’s worth remembering that anyone can make that kind of statement.

A candidate must back up these claims with evidence.

Have they used previous examples from their current job or a hobby outside of work?

“I’m a perfectionist”

“What’s your biggest weakness?” is one of the best interview questions to ask.

So, when a candidate comes back with this absolute cheese ball of a line, it’s worth turning your attention to another hopeful.

It’s not only a cheap trick response, but it casts doubt on the authenticity of a candidate too.

Once again, you need a candidate who is willing to be honest, yet positive at the same time.

For instance, “I’d say my biggest weakness is talking in public. It’s something I’ve been working on though and I feel a lot more confident doing it now.”

“No, I don’t have any questions for you”

A candidate who doesn’t have any questions for you at the end of an interview is a bad sign.

Are they passionate or even curious about the job?

Some good examples would be:

  • What is the biggest challenge your team is facing at the moment?
  • Will there be any opportunities to do overtime/or progress?
  • What would the day-to-day job entail?

“How did I do?”

The final kind of thing a candidate shouldn’t say is when they ask you how the interview went.

Your business needs a confident individual who backs themselves all the way.

A candidate needs to end things on a high and reiterate why they’re a perfect fit for the role.

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Michelle Catapang
1 year ago

Thank you for these tips you have shared! This will certainly be helpful and can be used for future references.