Prepping for an interview can be stressful. We tend to sweat over all the right things to say, but we don't always give as much thought to what we shouldn't say. Sometimes, since we're all only human, it can be easy to get too comfortable in a job interview if the interviewer is super personable.
But while not saying enough can crush your chances of landing the job, oversharing can seriously hurt you, too. It's important to establish rapport and create a connection with the interviewer so that you're a memorable candidate, but there's a fine line you shouldn't cross if you want to succeed.
Here are seven things successful people never say in interviews — and you shouldn't either.
Maybe you had an absolute hatred of your previous boss, maybe they were a totally toxic bully of a boss, or maybe you two just didn't ever seem to see eye to eye. Sure, that happens — and it probably happens pretty often. But your potential new manager doesn't need to know so much about it. Of course, it's okay to discuss how you manage conflict in the workplace (productive problem-solving is certainly a valuable asset), but complaining about your old boss will only make the interviewer worry about what you might say about them. The last thing you want is to come across as a bad mouther who doesn't get along well with others.
OK, you need a job. Your bills are piling up, you're in over your head in some sort of loan debt, and you have a major life event coming up that you'll need money to cover. A job that pays well would be great. But your interviewer doesn't care about your financial struggles; they care about whether or not you're a good fit for this particular job. And if you waltz into the office basically begging for the job just because you need a paycheck, well, that doesn't really show passion or skill but, rather, desperation. Desperation doesn't get you a job; it gets you a no.
Having aspirations to succeed and grow in the company is hugely attractive. The interviewer would certainly want to know that you care about your future within the company, which is why many interviewers often ask about where you see yourself in the next few years. But what you don't want to do is overshare that you're only taking this job as a stepping stone for the next move. If you come across as cocky and dismissive about the current role, instead of as inspired and motivated to succeed, it's not a good look. So tread carefully.
It's normal to be anxious about starting a job. Stepping into a new role with a new company can easily make even the most experienced professionals feel nervous. And while it's certainly OK to admit that there may be a learning curve for you in some areas of the job, you definitely don't want to undersell yourself. If there's a skill you don't have or a software with which you're not necessarily familiar, for examples, don't focus on the negatives — focus on your willingness to learn, your impressive adaptability, and your motivation to confront challenges. That said, if you really don't think you can do the job, it's also OK to decide that it's not the right fit for you and walk away. Remember that interviews are two-way streets.
Maybe you're used to working independently, and perhaps the job even requires you to work largely on your own. It's OK to tell the interviewer that you exceed in independent environments. It's not OK, however, to tell the interviewer that you really don't like working in groups. Even the most individualistic job roles require teamwork and collaboration, and you'll need to be able to work well with your colleagues to succeed in your role and help the company succeed in its goals. Being able to do both is a great quality.
Likewise, if you don't love working on your own and much prefer group environments, that's OK. A lot of people feel the same way. Working alongside a team can keep you motivated and inspired, and bouncing ideas off each other and supporting one another can lead to great success. But focusing on the fact that you hate working alone — instead of on the benefits of teamwork — can come off the wrong way. You don't want to seem like you're incompetent on your own or lean too heavily on others. Again, balance is key.
At the end of the interview, chances are that the interviewer is going to ask you if you have any questions. If the interview went well, the interviewer went into detail, and you had an involved discussion, you might not have any burning questions left to ask. But not asking any questions can make you seem uninterested in the job. It can also seem like you didn't do your research because, had you read up enough on the company, the role, or the interviewer, there's sure to be at least something about which you can ask. If the interviewer answered all your questions already, you can mention that (it'd be nice for them to hear that they did a great job) and then still express interest by inquiring about their own experiences with the company. People love to talk about themselves, and this question shows that you care to know more.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.