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What Not to Say in a Job Interview

Interviewing is stressful, especially if you're afraid you'll stain your reput

Preparing for a job interview is a stressful process, and it can be especially intimidating if you're worried about saying the wrong thing. Whether you're prone to rambling when you're under pressure or just concerned you'll have an accidental slip of the tongue that doesn't shine a positive light on your abilities, it's important to remember the top things you should avoid saying in an interview. Proformative members recently discussed this very topic on the Questions section of the site.

Refrain From Asking About Salary
While compensation will likely end up being a significant factor in whether or not you accept a position, an interview is an inappropriate time to broach the subject. Asking about pay during an interview may be off-putting to a interviewers and lead them to think you're not really interested in the challenges and growth potential associated with the position, but just interested in a better-paying job than the one you currently have.

This rule applies to all benefits-related subjects, so keep from mentioning health insurance or retirement packages during an interview, as well, unless the interviewer brings the subject up.

Don't Focus on Just One Personal Quality
For individuals interviewing for a finance position, it seems logical to boast about your ability to make cuts and stress the savings you initiated in your last position. However, stressing just one aspect of the job may lead the interviewer to think you can do little else. Proformative member Wayne Spivak, president and CFO of SBA Consulting, wants his interviewees to also tell him what else they can bring to the table.

"While cost containment is part of the overall definition of our roles, how many times can you cut costs?" he suggested as a great question for employers to ask.

Member Chris Shumate, corporate accountant at Redline Contract Services, agreed with this point and said candidates need to talk about their experience bringing in revenue or adding value to a firm to make themselves stand out and prove they're capable of taking on a challenge.

Never Complain
You may have very real concerns about your current position - perhaps your ideas aren't taken seriously or your superiors expect too much of you, but it's important never to mention this in an interview. Complaining about coworkers, board members, junior level employees or the work itself is a huge turnoff for interviewers. If you're asked about your current job, focus on the positive and talk about what you've learned or what challenges you've overcome, not what you dislike about the position.

Don't Come Off as Unprepared
Take the time to prepare yourself for the interview so you don't say anything that makes it look like you're clueless about the company. Conduct thorough research on the firm and know what it does, its main competitors, who the top decision makers are and if the company has made headlines recently for acquiring another firm or bringing in record profits. If you show you're knowledgeable about the organization, an interviewer may take you more seriously and be more willing to think you're the ideal candidate for the position.

Stop Critiquing the Company
While you prepare, you may find recent news stories about the business that show it's experiencing some tough times. However, that doesn't give you license to critique its recent sales numbers or a failed marketing campaign. Don't say anything that could be construed as insulting to the company, as it may come off as arrogant or insensitive. This won't make a good impression on an interviewer or work in your favor, so if you want to show you've done your homework, speak up about the company's recent appointment of a new CEO or its launch of a new product or service.