9 Interview Phrases That Are Making You Sound Deeply Unprofessional

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
June 20, 2024 at 12:31AM UTC
We get it — interviews make your palms a little sweaty and your heart race a little faster. Even if you're conducting an interview over a screen instead of face-to-face, having nerves is still normal! But you can make sure that your next interview goes a lot smoother if you go into it prepared, understanding what you should and shouldn't say.
We've already prepped you with the most common interview questions and how to give your best answers — plus totally cringeworthy questions you should never ask in an interview. Here's what you should never say to a hiring manager while sitting down, virtually or otherwise, to talk about a job opportunity...

1. "I'd love to know more about what your company does."

Heads up: If you're interviewing for a job with a company, you should already know what exactly that company does. You should never go into an interview blind. Do your research on the company and what the job entails so that you can carry a confident conversation about it. 

2. "Tell me more about yourself."

Likewise, you should already know a bit about the person interviewing you, as you should have done your research on them, too. You should always look up their LinkedIn and any social media profiles you can find, as well as any other materials about them online. You might even ask around the company if you already have connections there. This way, when it comes time for you to interview with this person, you can ask them, "Can you tell me more about your involvement in X philanthropy that I read about in the local paper — I, too, care a lot abut that cause!" instead of asking, "Can you tell me more about yourself?"

3. "How much can you pay?"

We know, the money is nice. And it can make or break a job offer. But you don't want to come across like you just care about the money. You also don't want to come across like you're just trying to squeeze every last dollar out of the company by asking what they can pay. Rather, you want to inquire about salary in a way that makes you sound deserving of what they can pay you. You'll want to do your research on the job and the market standard salary for a job like it — and, given your experience and skills, be confident in a salary range that you think you deserve.

4. "What time can I leave work most days?"

Sure, you have obligations outside of work. We all do! But you never want to ask about what time you can get out of the office before you're even given an invitation to come into the office. You can instead ask about the company's views on work-life balance and what this looks like for most employees.

5. "Ugh, my last company..."

Never ever badmouth your last company. Point blank and period.

6. "I didn't like my last boss because..."

Likewise, you never want to speak poorly of your last manager. You don't want the hiring manager interviewing you to worry about what you might say about them in the future — nor do you want to come across as difficult and not a team player.

7. "I'll do whatever you need me to do."

Maybe this is true, but admitting it sounds desperate. If you're skilled enough to be doing the job for which they're hiring, you don't  want to beg for it saying that you're willing to do lesser work just to land the role. Positioning yourself this way makes you sound less competent than you actually are because, after all, why would you need to beg for a job if you're so experienced?

8. "I just really need a job."

Maybe you really do just need a job to pay your crazy rent or your annoying phone bills or that creeping credit card debt that keeps, somehow, doubling every month. Your hiring manager doesn't need to know why you just really need any job. All they need to know is why you just really want that specific job.

9. "So, did I get the job?"

It's OK to ask about next steps. In fact, you should. It's natural that you'll want to know what to expect from the process. But flat-out asking if you got the job at the end of an interviewer can put unnecessary and awkward pressure on the hiring manager that could turn them off. It can also come across as disrespectful of their time to consider all of their options. 

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.

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