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5 phrases you should never say in a job interview

We’ve written a lot about successful job interview techniques, but sometimes even experienced job seekers make annoying mistakes. In this article, we will provide examples of 5 phrases that you should never say in a job interview if you are looking to get the job.

The catch is that for most people these phrases seem correct and straightforward. However, the whole secret is in HOW to formulate these phrases in such a way that they play not against you, but in your favor. After all, your main task in the job interview is to create the impression of an experienced professional who will benefit any company. So, below are 5 phrases that lead to the opposite result and give the impression of weakness and unprofessionalism, as well as our recommendations on how to avoid this.

  1. I really need this job

The first thing that you will hear at any interview is “why do you want to work for us?”. By the answer that you really need this job, you seem to say that you are ready to work in this company in this position, and you like the conditions.

wrong 5 phrases to say at a job interview

The meaning is correct, but the phrase is wrong. Your interviewer will understand it as your despair to get another normal job, lack of money and professional problems. His or her conclusion will be that this is a weak candidate.

It would be correct to say: I like your company and the people who work here. I have experience in this area and I am sure that I will benefit the company in this position. And I like the pay and conditions you offer.

  1. In five years, I will become a director

The second popular interview question is “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” And here an obvious mistake would be excessive ambition or bragging, and this is not uncommon. Every second applicant in Big 4, consulting or banking seeks to show himself or herself as a purposeful careerist and with burning eyes claims that in 5 years he or she will become a partner, director or head of a department.

Friends, this answer will only make the interviewer grin. It will only be worse to say: in 5 years I will take your place. This is generally a failure. With this answer, you will turn any interlocutor against yourself. Your task is the opposite: to show that you are committed to long, hard work, and do not plan to run away to another employer at the first opportunity.

It would be more competent to say: first of all, I aim to be an effective and efficient employee and bring long-term benefits to the company in any position. Naturally, I want to grow professionally. I plan to reach the level of the head of a project team or department in 5 years.

wrong 5 phrases to say at a job interview to fail

  1. My ex-boss was a complete jerk

The third question, which you must prepare for, is “why did you quit your previous job?” A common mistake is to complain about the working conditions and especially the team and management. Up to 75% of all job seekers make this mistake.

And it makes a pitiful impression. The interviewer will understand it this way: this guy did nothing and did not achieve anything in his last job, and others are always to blame for him, especially the bosses. And if we take him, it will all repeat itself, and he will tell everyone how bad we are.

For the correct answers to the question about the reasons for dismissal, see our articles below.

  1. My only weak point is perfectionism

Another frequent interview question is “name your weaknesses.” This is, of course, a difficult question that must be thought about in advance. And on the Internet, you will find a lot of tips on how to answer it. A frequent piece of advice that came to us from the 90s is – tell us about your shortcomings in such a way as to turn them into advantages. And example number one – my only drawback is that I work too well.

Friends, we are already in 2021. These tips are outdated. And interviewers of large companies have heard this answer so many times that they get a toothache from this phrase. And they perceive this answer as follows: this guy has read a lot of advice on interviews and now, instead of normal answers, he says obvious nonsense. Most likely, he has a bunch of flaws that he does not even realize.

We are not going to give standard advice on how to answer the question about the shortcomings. You yourself must think about it, realize what can slow you down professionally, and how you can get rid of it. Be serious about preparing such a response.

However, there is still one recommendation here – not to expose yourself of all your sins and shortcomings. You are not in confession, and it is not in your best interest. Just tell about what you don’t like about yourself from a professional point of view, and how you solve this problem. The main thing is to show that this problem will not worsen your performance in this job.

tips for a successful job interview

  1. Tell me about your company

At the end of the interview, you will hear: “Do you have any questions for us?” And you should definitely have questions. But the wrong phrase on your part would be to say: tell me about your company.

Why wrong? Because it is perceived that you know nothing about the company. And the answer to it will be a set of standard information: we are doing this, we were founded then, our CEO is that. You can find such information on the company’s website in 5 minutes. Don’t waste precious interview time on such useless communication.

The last minutes of the interview are really precious. Most often, it is the last phrases and impressions that are remembered. And the kind of questions you ask at the end of the interview can have a huge impact on how you will be remembered. Say “tell me about the company” – and you will be remembered as empty space, or rather, you will not be remembered at all, and you will be quickly forgotten.

Ask interesting and competent questions – and show yourself as a professional and interesting person. And if you make your interviewers think about these questions, then you are guaranteed to be remembered.

And we have prepared a list of similar questions for you. Read more in 8 smart questions for the employer at your job interview

wrong 5 phrases to say at a job interview


The job interview is the most important stage of getting a job. It is after the interview that a decision will be made whether you will get the job or get declined. It often happens that an experienced job seeker successfully passes aptitude tests, personality tests and performs any tasks, but at the interview, he or she simply chooses wrong words. To prevent this from happening, get ready for all stages of pre-employment selection: aptitude tests and personality tests, assessment and especially job interviews. On Aptitude-Tests-Practice you will find over 1000 practice tests and a huge selection of articles. Ensure your success – get ready!


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To prepare for your interview, read our articles on good interview tactics:

How to answer the question: “Why do you want this job?”

10 tips for a successful job interview

2 most common job interview mistakes

3 easy ways to stand out in a job interview