When preparing for a job interview, experts say it’s important to practice or role play your interview the night before. But even if you spend hours rehearsing what you’re going to say, how do you know if it’s what the recruiter wants to hear?
“The interview is very important and can make or break your chances of securing the job,” Angela Payne, general manager of Monster Canada, says. “The interview is important because it helps the employer to get an idea of what kind of person and worker they are considering for a job.”
So what makes the perfect answer to any interview question? Confidence, eloquence and passion, Payne says,
“Answering the question directly while sticking to your points is an easy way to show the interviewer that you’re a good listener and can take direction well,” she says. “The answers to interview questions should tell the recruiter or employer what the candidate is capable of and comfortable with, as well as their credentials and involvement in the industry.”
So if you want to stand out, you need to ditch the cliché answers and actually think about the answers you’re going to give. Not only will avoiding these answers and descriptors avoid an intense eye roll from the recruiter or manager, it will give you a better chance of scoring the job.
According to Payne, here are the top five interview answers job recruiters and managers hate to hear, and why.
1. “I’m looking for a new challenge.”
“It may come off as though you are concealing the real reason why you’re seeking a different job,” Payne says. “Be as honest as you can about why you’re looking for a new challenge.”
2. “I’m a great team player.”
“Just like any other cliché, these phrases may come off as insincere or lazy,” Payne explains. “Try and say something that is unique to you, and not every other candidate.”
3. “I don’t have salary expectations.”
“This is one of the biggest statements to avoid – and shows right away that you are unprepared for the interview and the job,” she says. “Instead, be assertive and explain that you have a reasonable expectation of what your skills are worth and are willing to have an honest discussion about it.”
4. “I’m a workaholic.”
“There’s definitely a better way to say this,” Payne says. “For example, you can refer to examples of how your hard work has yielded positive results throughout your career. Avoid labelling yourself in any way during an interview.”
5. “I don’t like to be micromanaged.”
“Depending on the context of this being said, it can come across as a subtle threat to the hiring manager,” Payne explains. “Focus on the positives that you look for in a supervisor.”
Last bits of advice
The best thing anyone can do is practice before the interview, Payne reiterates.
“You can do this on your own by writing out answers to expected questions, or asking a friend or family member to act as the employer in a mock interview.”
Also, think of examples that can be related back to any of the expected questions, Payne adds.
“Having live examples shows that you not only have real experiences but that you have an understanding of the expectations of the job,” she says.
Make sure you are well-rested, well-fed and on time – about 10 to 15 minutes before the interview time, Payne says.
“Keeping your regular routines will make it easier to prepare and handle the interview,” she says.
If you get nervous during interviews, Payne suggests trying a few things. First, breathe and ask to have the question repeated so that you fully understand and/or take that moment to pause and come up with your answer. Lastly, try to take a few deep breaths before going into the actual interview. This will help calm any jitters, Payne says.