Sometimes it only takes one thing said to ruin a great conversation. For job-seekers, it only takes one sentence to ruin a great interview, and in return, miss out on a great career opportunity. Today, I’ll provide you with a few sayings that you should never bring with you on a job interview.  Keep in mind.

“I want to own my own business.” Look, having an entrepreneurial spirit is great. I myself, am a believer everyone should tap into their entrepreneurial self, and plan for the future. However, an interview is not the place nor the time to express these desires. Your prospective employer wants to see that you’re motivation is 110% geared towards their company. Besides, no-one wants to hire potential competition. Don’t let your ambition seem like a threat.

“How am I doing?” This probably seems like a good question, right? You want to ask your prospective employer mid-way through if you’re on track to getting the job or not. Right? No! Wrong. This is a horrible question that should never be asked. If I’m interviewing someone for a position in my company, I want them to exude confidence, not insecurity. This question implies exactly that, insecurity. Don’t appear to be weak.

“Like” and “Um”. Although these two aren’t exactly questions or a statement. Unless you’re a road scholar, we’ve all done this in the past whether we’d like to admit it or not. It’s usually when we are stuck that we “ummm”….use the word “like” or the sound “um.” Not only does this action show that you’re not prepared but it also demonstrates some level of unintelligence. Be careful.

“How long is this interview going to take?” If this question were asked during a screening I am conducting, the interview would conclude right then and there. Never rush your potential employer. Show them that they are the priority, not that anything you have to do after the interview concludes is priority.

“I need to make _ amount of dollars.” Yes, your salary is important, but don’t let this appear to be the focal point of your interest. The company’s future and your part in it should set the tone of the interview. Not a certain salary figure. One expert says, If you desire to become more persuasive, get in the habit of addressing the concerns of others before asking about your needs. The most effective interviewees give the hiring manager what they want first, then speak about money later. As a result, they end up getting more money.”

“What does your company do?” This question is worse than showing up to an interview late. You can show up 15 minutes prior to your interview time, dress in your Sundays best, have the nicest briefcase with the most polished resume and still shoot yourself in the foot by asking this question. Not knowing what the prospective employer does, tells the interviewer that you’re essentially not interested in the company and that your intentions are solely based on income. Not good.


Visit our Job Search page to see all current openings and remember these tips for your next interview. You can also learn more about ATHENA’s culture and benefits on our Why Join ATHENA page.