22 things that make you sound rude in a job interview

Upset sad angry face hands worker office boss
Don’t be rude. tommaso79/Shutterstock

Most people don’t try to come across as rude — for whatever reason, they just don’t realise how their actions look to others. That can lead to a rather rude awakening for them down the line, once they’re confronted with the consequences of their conduct.

One of the worst places that you can come off as disrespectful is during a job interview. You want to charm and impress your interviewer, not turn them off with bad behaviour.

Here are some particularly inconsiderate, alienating things to avoid saying in an interview:

1. ‘I’ve been waiting a while’

You are totally justified in being annoyed that your interviewer kept you waiting. That being said, you get no brownie points for grumbling.

2. ‘Hi! I know I’m late…’

Yes, it’s a bit of a double standard that the interviewee typically can’t be late while the interviewer can get away with it. But the interviewer is typically the one with the power, so just get over it.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the job interview — even if that means showing up super early and waiting around at a nearby Starbucks.

And if you are late, don’t draw attention to it or make excuses. Quickly apologise and move on.

3. ‘What happens if I don’t get along with my boss or coworkers?’

This doesn’t necessarily make you sound rude, per se. It’s a weird question, though. Your interviewer may just assume that you’re impolite and unable to work with others.

4. ‘Are you married?/Do you have kids?/How old are you?/etc.’

Never ask the interviewer any personal questions.

5. ‘I heard this rumour about the CEO. Is it true?’

You should never bring gossip into a job interview. It’s highly unprofessional.

6. ‘I’ve been waiting a while’

You are totally justified in being annoyed that your interviewer kept you waiting. That being said, you get no brownie points for grumbling.

7. ‘What does your company do?’

You didn’t care enough about the job to run a quick Google search? Questions like this will make you look unprepared and inconsiderate.

8. ‘I don’t have weaknesses’

Yes, you do. Claiming not to have shortcomings just makes you come across as arrogant.

9. ‘S—,’ ‘b—-,’ ‘f—,’ etc.

Hold off on the profanities. Curse words will make you sound vulgar and unprofessional.

10. ‘How did I do?’ or ‘Did I get the job?’

This one puts the interviewer on the spot. If you really want feedback, wait until you get the offer or rejection, and then ask in an email what you did well or could have done better.

11. ‘I feel like this is your organisation’s big weakness’

It’s great if you’re coming to the table with a lot of ideas on how to improve the organisation. Try to keep your language positive, though, or your interviewer may wonder why you’re even interviewing in the first place.

12. ‘Excuse me, I need to take this call really quickly’

Are you kidding me?

13. ‘I just need a job’

Seriously, contain your enthusiasm. This may be true, but definitely don’t admit it to your interviewer.

14. ‘Hi — let’s get started’

Don’t just barge in and start talking. You may be nervous and eager to get it over with, but remember to introduce yourself first.

15. ‘Sorry — I’ve got to run!’

What have you got, a date or something? Try to keep your schedule relatively uncluttered on the day of the interview.

16. ‘I’d like a coffee/water/tea’

If the interviewer offers, then it’s fine to ask for a beverage. Just don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.” In fact, you should show off that you have good manners when you can during the interview.

17. ‘I … I … I …’

Yes, job interviews are all about discussing yourself and your abilities. That being said, you want to keep the focus on how you can help the organisation. The conversation should always go back to that main thesis.

18. ‘The office isn’t what I thought it would be’

You’re here as a job candidate, not as a super-critical interior decorator. Don’t imply that you’re disappointed or underwhelmed.

19. ‘How did you get this role?’

You really don’t want to say anything that could be considered condescending to the person standing between you and a potential job.

20. ‘Can you believe this election?’ or ‘Who did you vote for?’

Keep politics out of conversations with your interviewer. If they bring it up first, then do what you can to change the conversation.

21. ‘Dude/honey/girls/ladies/man’

This one’s a toss-up. Some people are totally cool with being called things like “guys” or “ladies.” Others get really irked. It’s probably better to err on the side of caution here, lest you come off as belittling or disrespectful.

22. ‘That’s not how I’m used to doing it’

If you start talking about the nitty gritty details of your new job, make sure to avoid coming across like you think you know better than anyone else. Criticising the company’s way of doing this is a surefire way to alienate your interviewer.

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