What words should you never say when being interviewed for a job?

Few things that you should never say in the interview, especially when you are at the beginning of your career path. I don’t want to mock people, we all make mistakes. But perhaps this will prevent a few people from making the same errors.

Being not prepared

When the interviewer asks “have you seen our website” and you say “no” it means that you haven’t spared even 5 minutes to prepare for THIS interview. They don’t really expect the deep analysis of their technology or problems, but it would be nice if you can at least say one sentence about it. On a side note — if what you’ve seen is bad, they probably do also know that it’s bad, so don’t say it’s awesome.

Trying to guess answers

If you don’t know something — say that you don’t know it. Don’t try to guess or figure out something that you have no idea about. It is way better to say “I don’t know how to optimize this query because I didn’t get there yet, but I would like to know more about it” than trying to chat your way through it.

Badmouthing your current employer

If you have years of experience and there is the company that really wants you — that’s a different story. But right now you are fresh and you have to convince them that you are a good investment of their money and their time to train you. You won’t get there by saying that you are not getting paid enough right now. When asked why you are thinking about changing your job, say that you are not learning enough or the job is not challenging at all.

Not knowing your values

Expect to be asked about your salary requirements. If you completely don’t know the market (i.e. when you migrate to the different country) — say something like “I don’t know the market here, but I’m looking for fair average or above for my position”. Yet be reasonable. If you have no experience and you didn’t score great on technical questions, say something like, “It would be perfect to be in the middle of the range for this position, but right now I focus more about learning as much as I can”. And never say “I don’t know”.

Being desperate

“I just want a job” is a big red flag straight away. You just can’t say that. Period. Even if you really don’t care about the employer and just want to get ANY experience, say anything that you think will be good for this job. “I never worked as a programmer for the retail company and I would like to try” will sound much better, even if I’d have to note that you are not sure if you will like it here.

Not having any questions

They’ve just asked you 20 to 30 questions about your life, skills, random bits of code, salary expectations and what do you do in your free time. They do care about your skills but also about what kind of person are you. You are going to spend 1/3rd of your day with them. Do you really not care about who are they at all?

In the end — remember. The job is a mutual agreement. During the job interview, you should also interview your employer. You will spend a lot of time with them, sometimes more than with your family. Make sure you people, all are on the same page. Present yourself as best as possible, be honest, find out if you actually work with them. There are too many people in the world doing stuff they love in an environment they hate. Don’t be one of those.

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