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Home > Blog: Interviews > What NOT to Say at the First Job Interview

What NOT to Say at the First Job Interview

Your first job interview with a potential employer is a true test of watching what you say and how you say it. The employer tries to get a sense of who you are and what your work ethic is all about, so everything you say is open to interpretation. Nothing will derail your chances of moving on to a second interview faster than saying something with a hidden meaning. What do I mean? Check out the following examples of what NOT to say in your first interview:

"I'm a bit nervous about driving in the city."

What they hear: I want this job but I'm not sure I can handle the stress of the city.
What you should say: "I'm excited about working in the city!"

"I'm planning to start a family as soon as possible. What's your policy on maternity leave?"

What they hear: I might only be here for a few months before I take off a big chunk of time. Will I get paid for it?
What you should say: Nothing. Don't bring it up until after you're hired!

"Would my health insurance cover diabetes?"

What they hear: I have diabetes. (Find out why this is bad here.)
What you should say: "I hear you offer great health insurance; I look forward to hearing about it at the next interview."

"I need to work from home twice a week."

What they hear: I have other obligations that will take priority over this job.
What you should say: Nothing. Save your work-from-home demands until you have a job offer, which is when you can negotiate employment terms.

"What's the available salary range for this position?"

What they hear: Money is all that matters to me.
What you should say: Nothing. Always let them bring it up first!

"I really need this job."

What they hear: I really, really, really need this job. Come on, I'm desperate!
What you should say: "This sounds like my ideal job, I'm very interested in coming back for a second interview, if needed."

Second and third interviews are a lot more flexible when it comes to topics of discussion. Wait until they're interested enough to hire you before you bring up things like benefits and salary!

Have you ever said anything in an interview that you truly regretted? What was it?

How Do You Handle the Salary Question?

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