5 Surprising Things Not to Say in an Interview

Keeping SecretsThere is no doubt job interviews are stressful. Between the interview preparation, trying to wow the interviewer, and managing your employment situation, your plate is full. But with all you are trying to remember “to do” have you thought about what “not to do?” Here are five things to never say in an interview.

1.    I don’t know how to use computers.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with computers but with technology taking hold of all facets of our life, it’s time to have some level of comfort with it. Even if you are looking for a job that may not require computer skills, you may have to use one for a specific task, for example filling out your timecard. Explain what you can do, whether it’s play games online, send email, or Skype with your family, share your experiences with computers. If you don’t have a computer at home visit your local library. They may have free classes that will help you get familiar with computers. You never want to lie about your abilities, and they may not be looking for a computer whiz, just someone who has familiarity with computers.

2.    I bet I could learn how to do that.
Hiring employees is time intensive and costly. Employers want to be as certain as possible about your work ethic and ability to do the job and get up and running quickly. Be familiar with the job description and share transferable skills and related experiences that would make it quick and easy for you to perform the task required. Choose your words carefully and demonstrate your confidence.

3.    I’m so busy.
Everyone has a life outside of work, but what’s most important during an interview is how well you would be able to perform the job at hand. Telling too much about your family responsibilities, hobbies, or other jobs may lead a prospective employer to believe that your ability to work will not be consistent.

4.    What I really want to do is _____.
You’re here for a job, and the interviewer doesn’t want to hear your dream job is something different. Show your appreciation and enthusiasm for the opportunity. There may not be a direct career path for you, but focus on what you can learn and gain from the job opportunity.

5.    I just couldn’t stand ______.
There isn’t anything to be gained from being negative. It’s fine to be honest about tasks you don’t enjoy but don’t exaggerate the situation. It’s good to let them know you understand there are good and not so good aspects to every job. In addition, it’s unprofessional to talk negatively about people and companies from your past. Focus on your future and what you’ve learned in the past, but keep it clean, positive, and brief.

Take time to prepare before your interview. Understanding the job description, the company information, and how your experiences and abilities make you right for the job will help keep your conversation on track. It’s natural to be nervous, but don’t rush your conversation. Choose your words carefully and remain focused, it’s okay to pause and collect your thoughts.

How do you ensure a successful interview conversation? Share your tips in the comments section below.


  1. Nick

    I can’t imagine who would find these things surprising. They seem like pretty obvious things to avoid in an interview.

    1. Cammie D

      Sadly there are many who have great skills for the job, but their attitude in believing they got it in the bag, presuming they do not need to learn the obvious little things that make a good interview.

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  3. Sarah

    I say #2 all the time. Well, not in interview, but on the job. It typically follows something like I’ve never used that particular program before but I have used something similar and I’ve never met a program that I didn’t figure out quick, so I’m sure I can learn this one too.

    1. Marge

      You would be surprised at how many younger grads are susceptible to saying just those things. I have heard too many of them completely downplay any abilities they have and just say “I’m a quick learner”. Also, too often they talk about what they want to do long term, and not what they can do for the job they are being interviewed for. It is refreshing to have someone come in for an interview and have them prepared to state SPECIFICALLY what skills they know that will help our company. Examples of when they use those skills is key. I don’t want to know what you could learn to do, or what you really want to do, or how you have been too busy to learn – I want to know what you already can do.

  4. Albert

    Hi there,

    It sounds to me too soft in many ways.
    Personally I prefer to be more direct instead to give or found surprises.

    I think reality crashes our vision of fantastic dreaming jobs.
    Let’s face it, most employers had the perception of a perfect slave person.

    Meaning no life, no truly who you really are.
    To define BONDABLE definition it’s pretty much in today terms an modern 21 century slave.

    Employers have great expectations, same as employees all those are banish after the first 3 months of so called PROVATION.

    The truly reality will come from both parts on that period.
    Our society try to handle your life using tools such as Facebook or any Social media intervention.

    Rules are created to guide people, under those people can be manipulated.
    I’m convinced we can enjoy life if we are truly authentic and don’t pretend who really you are.

    Truly Thanks,

  5. Graham

    As an interviewer, I have seen these responses, more often than some of the posters above might think.
    I am afraid I can’t make much sense of what Albert’s point was, other than generalized negativity, grammar, and rhetoric notwithstanding.
    As an interviewee, I cannot say I have made these mistakes, at least as far as I can remember, but they are still valuable reminders for those in the job market.
    Good luck people.

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  7. Myra

    Don’t forget to evaluate the employer also.
    Is it the place you want to work? Is it clean? Is it a good neiborhood?
    Observe everything since you get to the parking lot, the enviroment, how they dress, how they talk, how do employees interact, are they frienly and professional? What about the bathroom? Besides other things.

  8. Cammie D

    Great tips, you would be surprised how often many people try to impress on how much they have going on and end up making themselves seem overworked to take on another job. There is one thing that I find annoying is people who say ” I know, ya I know” or who talk over the other person.

  9. Crystal

    I agree, these do not sound real surprising, but to some who don’t have a lot of work experience it may be. I think this was helpful, however, I’m often asked what my long term goals are (referring to #4 what I really want to do)–I won’t lie in an interview and I wouldn’t recommend it. I think you can express what it is you want to do, but also share why this job would be important for you to reach that goal. That shows both that you have high ambitions and believe that your job is important to you.

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