One of the worst places that you can come off as disrespectful is during a job interview. You want to charm and impress your interviewer, not turn them off by coming across as being rude.
Business Insider UK lists 22 particularly inconsiderate things to avoid saying that could make you sound rude in a job interview:
- ‘I’ve been waiting a while’
Although you may be frustrated if you’re kept waiting, you’ll receive no brownie points for complaining.
- ‘Hi! I know I’m late…’
Although it is a bit of a double standard that the interviewee typically can’t be late while the interviewer can get away with it, the interviewer is typically the one with the power, so just get over it. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, even if that means you have to hang out in a coffee shop for a while before you go in. If you are late, don’t draw attention to it or make excuses. Quickly apologise and move on.
- ‘What happens if I don’t get along with my boss or co-workers?’
This can be taken as a strange question, although not outright rude. Your interviewer may just assume that you’re impolite and unable to work with others.
- ‘Are you married? / Do you have kids? / How old are you? etc.’
Never ask the interviewer any personal questions.
- ‘I heard this rumour about the CEO. Is it true?’
Don’t try and gossip in a job interview. It’s highly unprofessional.
- ‘Who should I avoid in the office?’
Don’t get involved in co-worker drama before you’ve even stepped foot into the office. This just makes you sound like a petty person.
- ‘What does your company do?’
Do your research before you go into the interview! Questions like this will make you look unprepared and inconsiderate.
- ‘I don’t have weaknesses’
Nobody’s perfect. Claiming not to have shortcomings will make you come across as arrogant.
- Language Timothy!
Do not swear. Curse words will make you sound vulgar and unprofessional.
- ‘How did I do?’ or ‘Did I get the job?’
Don’t put the interviewer on the spot. If you really want feedback, wait until you get the offer or rejection, and then ask in an email what they think you did well on or how could have done better.
- ‘I feel like this is your organisation’s big weakness’
It’s great if you’re coming to the table with a lot of ideas on how to improve the organisation. Try to keep your language positive, though, or your interviewer may wonder why you’re even interviewing in the first place.
- ‘Excuse me, I need to take this call really quickly’
An absolute no-no. Put your phone on silent for the duration of the interview or even better, turn it off.
- ‘I just need a job’
Try to keep your enthusiasm under control. This may be true, but definitely don’t admit it to your interviewer.
- ‘Hi — let’s get started’
Don’t start the interview by barging in and babbling. You may be nervous and eager to get it over with, but remember to at least introduce yourself first.
- ‘Sorry — I’ve got to run!’
Don’t give the impression that you have somewhere better to be. Try to clear your day on the day of interview so that you don’t have extra pressure and you allow yourself plenty of time to do your best.
- ‘I’d like a coffee/water/tea’
If the interviewer offers a beverage, then it’s fine to accept. Just don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.” In fact, you should show off that you have good manners whenever you can during the interview.
- ‘I … I … I …’
Although job interviews are all about discussing yourself and your abilities, you do want to keep the focus on how you can help the organisation. The conversation should always go back to that main thesis.
- ‘The office isn’t what I thought it would be’
You haven’t come in to the interview to give your interior decorating advice. Don’t imply that you’re disappointed or underwhelmed.
- ‘How did you get this role?’
You really don’t want to say anything that could be considered condescending to the person standing between you and a potential job.
- ‘Can you believe this election?’ or ‘Who did you vote for?’
Don’t talk about politics. Even if they approach the subject first, try to do what you can to change the conversation.
It’s probably better to err on the side of caution here, you don’t want to come across as belittling or disrespectful.
- ‘That’s not how I’m used to doing it’
If you start talking about the nitty gritty details of your new job, make sure to avoid coming across like you think you know better than anyone else. Criticising the company’s way of doing this is a surefire way to alienate your interviewer.
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