Strategy: 11 things you say that will automatically ruin your chances in a job interview

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Steer clear of these blunders.

Avoid making these job interview blunders — they will likely knock you out of consideration immediately.

• Some job interview errors are a bigger deal than others.

• Do your research and adopt a confident mindset in order to boost your chances of succeeding.

• But, whatever you do, don't make mistakes like cursing, dissing the company, and asking weird personal questions.


Nobody's perfect. You could be pro at job interviews, but there's always a chance you'll say something a bit off.

That won't necessarily sink your candidacy, though. Your qualifications and endearing personality might just carry you over.

That is, unless you say something so bad that you completely wreck your chances.

Here are a few interview faux pas that could automatically disqualify you, unless you're really lucky:

1. 'What does your company do?'

Questions like this will make you look like you don't even care enough to run a simple Google search.

2. 'Are you married?/Are you pregnant?/etc.'

Never ask the interviewer any personal questions — or anything that could be offensive. It's just off-putting.

3. 'S—,' 'b—-,' 'f—, ' etc.

Hey, everyone curses. It's better to hold off on the profanities in job interviews, though. That being said, letting out a curse word or two during a funny story might not be a nail in your coffin. Angrily swearing at someone (your interviewer or otherwise), on the other hand, would definitely knock you out of the running. This goes double for any offensive, racist, or sexist speech.

4. 'I want your job'

Put yourselves in your interviewer's shoes. Would you want to hire someone who sounds like they're about to go “All About Eve” on you?

5. 'This isn't my top choice'

Your interviewer's not going to respond well to someone that expresses an intention to use the position as a mere stepping stone to something bigger and better.

The same thing goes for interviewing with your second choice. You may have a dream job in the wings that you're waiting to hear back from, but don't make the interviewer feel like you don't value their organization.

6. 'I'd better get this job, or…'

Even if you're just kidding (I mean, hopefully you're kidding), you'll just come across as creepy and overly aggressive.

7. 'If I don't get this job, I don't know what I'll do'

Any interviewer worth their salt won't allow themselves to be guilted into offering you a job, so save the sob story.

8. 'Do you want to grab dinner sometime?' or 'Wow, you have such a beautiful smile'

Don't flirt with your interviewer.

I'll say it again — don't flirt with your interviewer. This inappropriate tactic is probably going to end badly.

9. 'What job am I interviewing for?'

How have you even made it this far in the process if you don't know what you're being interviewed for? If you're legitimately confused, try asking about what kind of person succeeds in the job, so you sound engaged rather than clueless.

10. 'I know I'm not the most qualified person, but…'

If you say this, the appropriate response from the interviewer is, “Oh, you're not? Goodbye then.”

Clearly, the interviewer thinks you're qualified enough to talk to. So stop with the self-deprecation. It's not refreshing. It makes you sound like a sad sack.

11. 'I hated my last boss'

Even if your last company was full of jerks and idiots, keep that to yourself and put a positive spin on the experience. The hiring manager wants to determine if you're a good fit for their organization, not hear you gripe about the past.

Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this post.