person asking a wrong question
Apr 17, 2019

7 Things Not To Say In An Interview

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

John did two things today.

He did a small dance in the kitchen to celebrate being called in for an interview with the Executive Marketing Manager of a top-notch brand.

And later – he blew the interview. Spectacularly.

Too many people spend their inheritance on getting their CV perfect but then stumble at the final hurdle – the interview.

No, there is no definitive script to follow during an interview. A senior marketing job will require different responses – and personalities – than, for example, an account manager. So we can’t tell you what to say in your interview.

But we can tell you what not to say

Here we go – listen closely.

What’s your benefits package?

Ideally, you should have a rough idea what the job is paying before you go for the interview. However, asking for the details of sick leave, vacation days and retirement funds is simply not done at the first interview.

The purpose of this meeting is to determine a fit, to decide whether you like them, and if they like you. Asking about benefits right off the bat is like asking the hot girl that you’ve just met at the bar about her mother’s rash. It’s bad manners – just be patient, that time will come.


My manager was a real a**hole

Maybe he was – goodness knows there are enough of them out there in the marketing world. But, that’s not a conversation that you have during your interview. It has always been a red flag when candidates complain about an ex-manager or bad mouth the company during their first meeting.

It makes you look like you had no problem-solving abilities, very little in the way of social skills … and you are a shocking gossip. So – leave it out.


I don’t have any weaknesses (or, I’m a perfectionist)

To be fair, any hiring manager or marketing recruiter worth their salt won’t be asking you such a subjective question anyway. They would be having conversations where your weaknesses will be uncovered subtly.

However, if this is the best you can do, then just grab your coat and go. Everyone has weaknesses. And you know, being honest about them is the best thing you can do. For example, you may be a social animal and hate working alone. Tell them! “I get distracted and seek out company if left to work alone – I prefer an open plan environment.” Boom.


I got fired

This is a tricky one. Saying – “I got fired” may be true, but there are other ways to frame it. It’s always – always – best to be honest.

If you did something really stupid and lost the company a lot of money, or you simply couldn’t get over your breakup with Suzy from accounts – then a frank conversation may be in order. People make mistakes.


I need this job

Ah yes – the needy employee line. Yes, you need this marketing job – and that’s why you’re here at the interview.

But expressing it in this slightly whiny way – all the while throwing buckets of guilt at your interviewers – does you no favours. If anything, the respect that you were hoping to earn from your prospective employer has gone the same way as that slightly spicy curry you had yesterday.


I don’t have any questions

Really? Is that because you know everything already or because you’re not interested in this particular marketing job?

Research the company before your interview, find out as much as you can about their culture, competitors and future plans. Chances are, you will have a whole list of very pertinent questions after that – and you’ll also look really smart and well read.


D’a know wat I mean m8te?

This is an interview – not an afternoon at your local boozer.

It goes without saying that you don’t swear or talk about your hangover during your interview. But you should also avoid using colloquialisms and calling your future employer “mate”. It shows a monumental lack of professionalism, which isn’t really what you’re going for at this point. Especially if you’re in the running for a b2b marketing job.



Yes, your interview will always be fraught and scary, but following these simple guidelines will stop you from sabotaging your interview. Good luck!