As we all may know, it is very easy to flunk a job interview.  

The nerves that come with sitting across from a hiring manager and opening yourself up for judgment sometimes cause you say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

That’s understandable. But have you ever wondered what phrases really annoy interviewers? 

Business Insider spoke with several people in leadership positions across a variety of industries about the things they do not want to hear from an interviewee.


Here’s what you do not want to say to your interviewer:

1. “I left my previous job because the environment was toxic/my boss was too demanding.”

Don’t complain about your current position or employer,” says Vip Sandhir, the CEO and founder of the employee-engagement platform HighGround. “I want to hire positive people and it’s an immediate red flag if someone is too critical during an interview.”

Complaining about past gigs or bosses is by far one of the worst things you can do in an interview. Several of our experts listed this as their number one pet peeve.


Basically, no one likes a whiner.

If you have to explain why you left your last job on short notice, put a positive spin on it. Whatever you do, do not complain. Even if you’re justified, it will just sound like sour grapes.

2. “I’ve moved around in jobs because I haven’t found the right fit/am not challenged enough.”

According to Scorsone, a statement like this will make you sound aimless and lost.

“This will make the interviewer immediately think to themselves: ‘why would this role be any different? They’ll probably leave here in six months,’” she says. “Also, this begs the question of what type of relationship you have with your manager. It doesn’t sound like open communication where you express the need and want to take on more with solutions at hand. Ultimately, a manager would love someone who can self-sustain and enable growth through being proactive, strong in follow-through of work and brings ideas and solutions to the table.”


3. “What does your company do?/Where is your company headquartered?

A general rule to abide by during job interviews is if you can answer your question with a Google search, do not ask it.

“You should have done your research before coming through our door,” says Ed Mitzen, the founder of the marketing firm Fingerpaint.

4. “As a manager, I pretty much work alone”

“When discussing your current role, if you are in a leadership or managerial position, never take all the credit for accomplishments,” Ms Silverstein says. “Emphasise your team and how through their talents your vision is being realised. Most successful leaders know that they are only as good as their team. Acknowledging this in an interview will go a long way.”


5. “What is your holiday policy?”

“This question shows me you are already thinking about taking a break,” Mr Mitzen says. “We want workhorses that will make our company stronger, not those thinking about the beach on day one.”

6. “Sorry, I’m not very punctual.”

It’s not a great idea to highlight a flaw like lateness during your job interview.

“Anyone that doesn’t have the discipline to show up on time – or early – isn’t someone we will trust with our clients’ business,” Mr Mitzen says.


7. “What will my role be?”

In most cases, you should have a good sense of what you’re interviewing for going into the interview. But if you are serious about the opportunity, you want to convey you’re flexible.

“Questions like this suggest you will limit yourself to purely what is expected of you, when in reality, your role is whatever you make of it,” says Kon Leong, CEO and founder of the software company ZL Technologies. “Especially in small companies, the ability to adapt and take on new responsibilities is highly valued.”

This goes double if you are just starting out. Entry-level interviewees would do well in most interviews to demonstrate a broad set of skills.

“When interviewing, it’s important to have a wide skill-set, as many startups and small companies are moving really fast,” says Tigran Sloyan, CEO of the programming startup CodeFights. “Employers are looking for candidates that are agile and can quickly adapt and excel in a growing company.”


8. “I’m a guru/expert.”

Be careful about making your accomplishments seem overblown.

“I cringe when millennials call themselves experts or gurus at things that take time to master,” like SEO or copywriting, says Keren Kang, CEO of the ad agency Native Commerce. “Say you’re excited about it and love learning about it.”

9. “My only weakness is that I work too hard.”

“It’s also a turnoff when candidates answer the question of what are some areas of weakness with an overly positive response,” Mr Sandhir says. “I want to see some humility. Not everyone is perfect, so candidates should be self-aware and be able to articulate their natural challenges in a way that doesn’t derail the interview.”


10. “I don’t have any questions.”

“A candidate that doesn’t have any questions is potentially somebody that is either not interested in your organisation, their career or possibly both,” Ms Ellery says.

-Adapted from Independent