5 Phrases to Never Say in an Interview


Interviews can make or break your chance of getting a job offer. And when you’re interviewing for a company, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do in certain scenarios. So here are five things you should never say during a job interview.

“So what does your company do exactly?”

First off, this is one of the worst things to ask or say in an interview because it shows you didn’t do your homework. Before every interview, you need to be researching the company and know as many facts as possible. If you walk into an interview not knowing what the company does, how are you supposed to demonstrate that you’re a good fit?

If you don’t show initiative and you expect those interviewing you to be “pitching” their company to you, you’re going to be cut from the running of the position. They’re the ones interviewing you. And if you think that not doing your research before coming into an interview will help land you the job, you’re sadly mistaken.

“I hated working for my last company.”

Even if this is 100 percent true, you shouldn’t say this in an interview. It will just give the hiring manager a bad taste in their mouth. Everyone knows there are obvious reasons you’re looking for a new job. But bashing your old company makes you look pessimistic and that you think you’re too good for people. This is obviously not the impression you want to be giving off in an interview.

So, instead of focusing on the negative that has happened in your past work history, focus on all the skills you learned that have prepared you for this new position. Maybe explain how the difficult working conditions helped you advance your leadership skills. This way the interviewees know that even in adversity, you take the high road and do the best you can.

“I need to be paid X amount”

When it comes to discussing salary and benefits, it’s a huge part of negotiating a new job. But if you are in the first rounds of interviews, it can show that you’re a little too eager and expecting to be hired. Which can be seen in a very negative light.

Don’t bring up salary expectations until it is prompted by the interviewee. This way you don’t make the mistake of hiring yourself before the company does.

“I’ll do anything”

The last thing you want to do in an interview is set yourself up for failure. When saying this phrase, it makes you look desperate and that you might be easily taken advantage of. Every company wants employees that will go over and beyond. But they want each person to know they can’t do everything. And it’s impossible to expect someone to do that.

When you say this in an interview, it looks like you just get walked on in a working environment. The last thing you want a new company to think about is that you’ll get burned out quickly and leave.

“I don’t have any bad qualities.”

First, we all have bad qualities. But not being able to spot them is an even bigger red flag for a future company. Of course, no one wants to talk about these weaknesses, but there is a way to make them sound positive instead of negative. With this answer, you’re coming across as someone who doesn’t want to work on themselves. And someone who might not be much of a team player. In an interview, this isn’t the way you want to come across.

So, instead of saying you don’t have bad qualities, just be honest. Make sure you tell them how working on these characteristics has helped you become a better employee. And more willing to work on yourself to get better so that you can help the company become more successful.

Overall, avoiding these statements in an interview will help you tremendously. Interviews can be hard and stressful, but if you’re prepared on what not to do, you’ll be more successful and could even get that job offer you’ve been waiting for.

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How to Answer These 4 Top Interview Questions With Flying Colors

How To Answer "Tell Me About Yourself" During A Job Interview, Johnson Service Group, Johnson Search Group, jobs, hire, interview, interview tips, interview help, tell me about yourself, interview questions, common interview questions, help

As we all know, a face-to-face interview can either kill your chances of getting the job or will make them want to hire you on the spot. So making sure you’re prepared to answer these top interview questions can help ensure you’ll land the job you’re wanting.

“Why do you want to leave your current job?”

This is usually a hard question to answer. The one thing to always remember though is to be positive in this situation. Everyone knows you are most likely wanting to leave your current position for multiple reasons. And some reasons you may not want to share.

But no matter the reason, good or bad, make sure you’re honest with why you want to leave. Maybe it’s because you want more opportunity for leadership growth, a more flexible work life, something new and different, or need more income to do the things you want. Just be sure to not bad-mouth your current employer!

If you’re spinning what you want and need in a positive light, and not focusing on what your current job isn’t giving you, you’ll come across as a person who is easy to work with. Employers are looking for someone who looks on the bright side of things, even when it’s hard to. And everyone wants to work with a person like that.

“Why do you want this job?”

This question relates to the first one… But it’s a very important one in the interview process. If you just want the job because you want to make more money, that’s not necessarily going to give you a winning interview. EVERYONE wants more money.

Answering this question though, in a way that helps the company know who you are and why you want to share your talents with them will help them start to believe you’re a great fit. It’s all about explaining how you have the skills they need for the job. For example, if it’s a social media specialist position you’re applying for, a good answer would be as follows:

“I’d love to help your team fill this job position because I am passionate about social media and my experience in it is extensive. I have training in video editing, writing, filming, and many other skills that are key to being successful in this position. I think I would be a great addition to your team due to my knowledge on these topics, and I would love to grow with you and your company.”

Short, sweet, and to the point will always get you the best response when answering these types of interview questions. Just make sure you’re being yourself and telling them everything you have to offer and why you’re a good fit for their company.

“Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?”

This is where you get to really make your case! Tell them about how great you are. Let them know about your leadership style, how you handle stressful situations, what makes you a good problem solver. Explain how you’re experience and attitude makes for the perfect fit and you’ll answer this question with flying colors. Just remember there is a fine line between talking yourself up and bragging.

“What questions do you have for me?”

This question is and will ALWAYS be asked in interviews. Make sure you do your homework. Having questions shows you are adamant about landing this position and that you care. Who do you think a company is going to want to hire? The “oh, no I don’t have any questions” person or the “oh yes, I just have a couple, what is your companies policy on…” person? You see my point.

Being able to offer questions they may not have heard before just helps them get to know you more and gives you an opportunity to interview them. Not every job that you have the skills for will be the right one for you. This is because you may not like their company culture, their benefits, or things like that. And you need to figure that out BEFORE you accept an offer is very important. That’s what this interview question will help you do so you avoid taking an opportunity you really weren’t suited for.

Give yourself the opportunity to be picky and make sure you’re the right fit for the position you’re interviewing for.

interview questions

Our Favorite Job Interview Questions

interview questions

Interviews can be difficult, to say the least. Oftentimes, there are high stakes for everyone involved. The interviewer wants to find a great employee that will make an immediate impact and stick around for the long haul. The interviewee is looking for a company that will be a great culture fit and ultimately help them reach their career goals. Needless to say, both parties want the interview to go well and the success of any interview lies in the questions that are asked.

At JSG, we spend thousands of hours each year getting to know our clients’ process and prepping candidates for interviews with the goal of finding the best fit possible. Here are some of our favorite interview questions and why we like them.

Tell me about yourself?

This allows you to give your highly practiced ‘elevator speech’ about yourself. They don’t want to know about your personal life. They want to know about your work experience and why you are looking to make a change. This is where you get to shine a light on your strengths. We like this question because it helps them perceive you as an “A” candidate at the beginning of the interview. If you have a strong elevator speech, you can help the hiring manager overlook areas that might be a concern down the road.

If I called your last boss and asked them to tell me about yourself, what would they say?

This question gives you an opportunity to pretty much say whatever you want. Hopefully, you can illustrate how and why you are the best candidate for the role. Plus, it gives the interviewer a good summary of how others see you.

Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

This is the perfect time to showcase your positive attitude. Stick with answers that show you are looking for a challenging environment or wanting to grow in your career. “Bad mouthing” your current or previous employer is NEVER okay in this situation (even if you left or are leaving on bad terms). With the right answer and positive response, your interviewer will be impressed with your professionalism!

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?

I was asked this question once in an interview, and my answer was my smartphone. I explained that it was an extension of me and my life was connected to it in so many ways. The interviewer immediately grinned and explained that he identified with me in that regard. A question like this allows for varying responses and gives a glimpse into the personality of the interviewee.

Where else have you interviewed?

This question allows the interviewer to assess the level of candor and interest in this particular position, as opposed to just getting a job. It will also indicate how they handle being “put on the spot.” Stressful situations occur in every workplace. If you can determine early how they respond and if they get easily rattled, it’s better to find out before they start working for you.

What is one thing that differentiates you from other candidates?

I like this question because it allows a candidate to sell themselves on why the employer should choose them. It also illustrates what the interviewer can expect from them. It gives an idea of what is important to the candidate from the perspective of the individual’s values.

How long have you been with the company?

I love this question because it gives the interviewer a chance to sell the interviewee on the company and the opportunity.

What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?

I like this question because it forces the interviewer to think about the job description’s accuracy and expand on what they want in a new hire. This allows the candidate to highlight their talents (skills and experiences) and relate them to the position.

interview questions

Q is for Questions: The Best Questions to Ask During an Interview

interview questions

Every job interview is a two-way street. You are accessing the potential employer just as much as they are assessing you as a candidate. After all, you both need to be convinced that you are a good fit.

The interview is ending and the hiring manager finally asks, “Do you have any more questions about the job or company?” This is your opportunity to make a lasting impression. Here are six interview questions to ask to really wow your prospective employer.

What are some of the challenges you expect in this position to face?

This is a great question to ask during an interview because it will give you a sense of the challenges you will likely face. It also grants you the opportunity to address these challenges and illustrate how you can (and will) overcome them. By addressing these challenges, it demonstrates that you are capable of tackling the most difficult aspects of this role, and thus, shows you’re a great fit!

What is your timeline for the next steps in the interview process?

Asking about the timeline of the interview process gives you a peace of mind. It also shows that you are serious about the role and looking towards the future. By understanding what the next steps are, you have a better idea of when you can follow up again. If the hiring manager says you can expect to hear from them by the end of the week (and you don’t hear from them by the), you can safely follow up with them on Monday.

What is the company culture like?

Asking this question will give you a high-level view of the employer’s philosophy as a company. Analyzing culture fit is becoming more and more important for both employers and candidates. You may be the most qualified candidate in the mix, but if you are not a great culture fit, then you will likely not be as successful within the organization.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

I really enjoy asking this question; it’s one of my go-to’s. This interview question is great because it gives you an idea of what other employees enjoy about the company. If they can easily talk about all of the great things the employer has to offer, then it is probably a great company to work for. But if the answers to this question from the interviewers seem ingenuine, then that may be a red flag to look into other opportunities.

Who will be my mentor in this position?

This is a question that doesn’t get asked often, but it is greatly impactful. By asking who your mentor will be, you are illustrating to the interviewers that you are coachable and willing to learn from others with strong backgrounds within the company. Showing that you are willing to learn makes the hiring manager’s decision that much easier.

Can you tell me about the dynamic of the team that I will be working with?

It’s important to understand the team dynamic before you accept the job offer. After all, these are the people you’ll be spending the majority of your day with. If you are not a great fit with the team, there may be other issues once you’re part of the team. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can meet some of the team members. Most hiring managers will have no problem introducing you to the team after your interview (if they are not already in the room with you).

How To Answer "What Are Your Biggest Strengths?" In An Interview

How To Answer “What Are Your Biggest Strengths?” In An Interview

How To Answer "What Are Your Biggest Strengths?" In An Interview

It’s the question we all think we know. It’s something we don’t really prepare for because we think we know the answer to it. However, speaking from experience, it’s a lot harder to answer on the spot than you originally anticipate.

What are your strengths?

This question, this simple question, is something that so many candidates struggle with. It’s time to conquer it – and here’s how.

  1. Make a cheat sheet

It sounds so weird, and kind of unnecessary, but it totally works. Write down everything that comes to mind when you ask yourself what you’re good at. Even if it’s just “sweeping the floor,” any and all things you’re good at will only lead to your mind thinking of more. Even if you don’t think it’s not a “real strength” write it down.

For example, I’m the youngest of three. Naturally, I’m pretty annoying. When I write down my strengths before an interview I make sure that I write this one down as well. Obviously I don’t tell an interviewer that I’m annoying. I simply take the good out of this characteristic of mine. I say that I am passionate, and that when I get an idea or a task, I’ll be so thorough in completing it that it’s annoying.

Bottom line here: Write down EVERYTHING!

  1. Talk to your parents

You might be thinking that I’m crazy,  but hear me out. Your parents are your number one fans! They watched you grow up and know all of the amazing things you can do. Ask them what your strengths are, and I’ll bet you get an even better idea than what you came up on your own.

You can also talk to your friends or significant other. They might give you a hard time every once in a while because you can’t cut an onion right, but I guarantee they’ll be quick when you ask them what you’re good at.

Bottom line here: Ask around!

  1. Form your answer for this specific interview

Do your research and try to learn as much as you can about the company. Check out employee reviews and see what kind of people they employ. Try as hard as you can to formulate for yourself what strengths this company is looking for. Answer the question, “what would be the strengths of a successful person in this job?” If you can answer this, then you’re set.

For example, if you have an interview with an accounting firm, they won’t want to hear about your strengths you have for caring for animals. They’ll want to know about your expertise with Excel and QuickBooks.  Show them how strong you are in their principles, and they’ll be very impressed.

Bottom line here: Make sure you tell the interviewer why your strengths fit their company.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

I know, I know. I sound like a broken record. But I cannot stress this enough. Practicing answering this question will make it much easier. When you can effectively react to this question and show the interviewer that you’ve thought about yourself in their company, then you’ll definitely stand out from the others. A flawless delivery will not only make you feel good, but it’ll also make you look good.

Bottom line here: Practice!

Simple enough, right? Four easy steps to nailing that question. And one of them requires no effort on your part! With these in your back pocket, the next time you talk about your strengths in an interview will lead to a better and more composed answer.

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How To Survive A Panel Interview

How To Survive A Panel Interview

It’s almost a rarity these days to get through a hiring process without sitting a panel interview. They are both wonderful AND terrifying. On one hand, it’s a great opportunity to get to know the members of the team and get a feel for the company culture. On the other hand, it can be unpredictable – filled with rapid fire questions that seem to come out of left field. Follow these 6 tips to prepare, and you’ll not only survive a panel interview, you’ll pass with flying colors!

  1. Know who you’re meeting

This is no different than a one-on-one interview, but it is more intense. It is essential to find out who you’re meeting before your interview. Take a look at everyone’s social media profiles and try to remember a distinctive thing about each. This will help you with name recognition and could provide you with some relatable talking points that will make you stand out amongst the crowd.

  1. Find & speak to the leader

There’s always a leader during a panel interview. Sometimes it’s your potential new boss, sometimes it’s their boss, and sometimes it’s someone in a completely different department who plays an integral part at the company. Once you’ve identified who it is, pay particular attention to them – the questions they ask, their body language, and how they interact with everyone else on the panel. Be sure to address them frequently throughout the interview, as they will probably have a significant amount of weight on the final decision.

  1. Make eye contact

Always make eye contact with each interviewer as they ask you a question. But when you’re answering, shift your eye contact to the different people in the room. A panel interview is a group effort, and they are all interested in hearing your story and getting to know you.

  1. Actively listen

While you are being asked a question, or told a story, or given the company history from one person on the panel, you have a number of other people simply watching you. This is a great opportunity to show off your body language A-game! Uncross those arms, nod your head, and slightly lean towards whoever is talking. It’s true that actions speak louder than words, especially when everyone is watching!

  1. Be ready for follow up questions

The variety of people in a panel interview are what makes it fun, but also challenging. Oftentimes, questions from one person will spark questions from another, and eventually, they’ve totally lost track of that list of standard questions they came in with. This makes it harder to prepare, but also much more exciting and authentic. Just don’t be afraid to take a moment after someone asks a question to formulate an articulate answer!

  1. Prepare unique questions

Due to the great research you did earlier, you should have a little bit of information on each person you’re interviewing with. Panel Member A went to your alma matter, Panel Member B has been at the organization the longest, Panel Member C used to work at a company you’re familiar with… use these tidbits to your advantage when asking questions. Target each of your post interview questions to each individual panel member. Then, at the end, ask them each to describe their favorite thing about working for this company. Not only is it a fun opportunity for them to reflect and share stories with one another, it’s the perfect chance for you to really understand what it’s like to work there!

Job Search

If You Want To Get Hired, NEVER Say These Words In An Interview

If You Want To Get Hired, NEVER Say These Words In An Interview

You’ve probably polished your resume, brushed up on interview questions, and memorized the questions you want to ask at the end of your meeting to blow the hiring manager away. But have you thought about how to control the words that just “come out?” You know what I’m talking about… an um will slip in while you’re trying to phrase your answer in a way that perfectly highlights your strengths, or you’ll trail off into an in-depth personal story before realizing it’s too late and you’re way off track. We’ve all been there. These are the words that you must steer clear of if you want to make a great first impression and land that job:

Filler Words

just, um, so, like

We ALL have trouble with filler words. If you don’t, then you’ve either trained yourself to avoid them, or you’re lying. It is simple human nature to use these when we are nervous or in a new situation. Instead of scattering these words throughout your interview, S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N. It is completely okay for you to take pauses to think or to take a deep breath and consider what you want to say next.


I’m not going to go too in-depth on this one for obvious reasons. Just think of it this way, if you’re wondering whether you should mention it or not, the answer is probably not!

Negative Words

mistakes, weaknesses, hate

Although sometimes unavoidable, negative language generally leaves a negative impression. If you spend your entire interview spewing negativities (whether valid or not), your interviewer will probably be left with a bad taste in their mouth.

Vague Words

kind of, sure, whatever

These words are what I like to call “wishy-washy.” And they can make you seem like a wishy-washy candidate. You didn’t “kind of” lead a project, you either did or you didn’t. Be sure to use specific and direct language to come across as a strong, confident candidate.


on fleek, bae, cash me ousside

I do not care what type of company you are interviewing for, or what job you may be interviewing for, PLEASE do not try to insert slang at any point in time. At best, it will be mildly irritating and at worst, it will make you look completely incompetent. Please. I’m begging you. Do NOT do this.

Unnecessary Intensifiers

very, really, extremely, absolutely

This is definitely the hardest one for me by far (see what I did there?) It can be tempting to add intensifiers to get your point across. “I worked extremely hard, it was absolutely a great turnout, I’m very punctual…”

To make sure you avoid these interview-killers, practice and slow down. The more you know your answers and elevator pitch, the less you’ll have to think on the spot. And feel free to take a moment to think about and formulate your answer to a question before diving right in! The interviewers will appreciate your thoughtfulness and I promise the “awkward silence” isn’t nearly as long or awkward as you think!

Are there any interview words or phrases that belong on this list that I missed? Comment and share!

Ask These Questions At The End Of Your Interview To Land The Job

Ever feel at the end of an interview you’ve got NOTHING left to ask because the hiring manager just killed it and covered everything you had wanted to know? Well there are a couple questions that are super versatile and you should able to use them during any interview, not matter the industry or level.

1. How did you end up at this company?

This question lets the interviewer talk about themselves for a bit. Hearing about their history can help you get to common ground and help them remember you. People like talking about themselves and rarely get to, so let them talk your ear off and it might pay off.

2. What’s the culture like here?

Getting the answer to this question helps you learn if this company is your best fit. Maybe they really value working out and have a gym in the building. Or maybe they volunteer together as a team outside of work. These are factors that wouldn’t be included on the job description but could hinder your work life if you don’t love these types of activities.

3. What is your favorite thing about working here?

Maybe you’ll learn something you had no idea about before. The answer to this question should get you excited about the company. The answer could also tell you something about the other employees. If you don’t blend well with the team, it might not be the right fit.

4. How has your position changed over the time you’ve been here?

More than likely, you won’t be in the same position the entire time you’re at one company. Just like a career, a position can change as time goes on and evolve into something different. Learning what has happened with your future boss’s position can help you see what kind of alterations the company has made within a specific amount of time.

Whether you’re a planner and you figure out which questions to ask beforehand or you are more of an “on-the-spot” person, keep list handy for your next interview!

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How You Answer This One Question Could Make or Break Your Job Interview

How You Answer This One Question Could Make Or Break Your Job Interview

“So, tell us about yourself…” This age old simple question can be the most difficult to answer, but it’s also one of the most important during a job interview. This question is asked often during interviews, or even networking events or out of the blue, so it’s important to have a clear career-related elevator pitch.

Breaking your answer into 3 parts will help you craft an organized, comprehensive, and concise response every time.

  1. Who are you?

“Hi, my name is [insert name] and I’m from [hometown].”

Here is where you could throw in any other personal information that you think is important and relevant. Keep it brief and focused. The example names your hometown because it might be something you have in common and never would have known. Finding common ground is key and sharing these small details can really be essential to successfully introducing yourself.

  1. What do you do?

“Currently I am a [position title] at [company] where I [daily activity]. Before this, I worked at [company] where I [daily activity].”

This is the part of the interview where you talk about the past and present. Always start with the present. Briefly explain your position showing that you know what you’re talking about. This makes you credible and shows why you matter within this new position/company. After covering your current life, explain what you were doing previously. If possible, highlight other relevant skills in previous positions. Most importantly in this step, be confident and sell yourself!

  1. Where are you going?

“My hope is to gain more experience in [activity] which is why I’m so excited for this opportunity to talk with you all.”

Similar to how you answer “where do you see yourself in 5 years,” be sure to close your answer by connecting to the company/position you are applying to. Explain why this skill is important to you and how it is something you are passionate about. This can be a skill you had previously and want to get back into, or something new that you’ve never tried before. Either way, it needs to be unique and meaningful to you. Let your personality shine through this last step of the job interview. The organization will notice this passion and thrive on the fact you care.

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How To Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” In A Job Interview

How To Answer "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?" In A Job Interview

“What is your greatest weakness?” is probably the most confusing question asked during a job interview… but it is asked almost every time. To tackle this question, you first need to understand why it is asked and how you should definitely NOT answer.

Why do employers ask it?

  1. This is one of those questions where the interviewer is not, in fact, looking for a specific answer, but rather to see how you go about answering.
  2. Overall, they are trying to take you out of your comfort zone to see if they can get to “the real you.”
  3. They want to see if you can keep your composure without spiraling into a tirade about your issues. Recognizing and answering the question, in any manner asked, will land you the job.

What NOT to answer:

  1. With a joke. Making a joke would indicate you are so uncomfortable with the question that you are trying to derail the conversation by using humor.
  2. With a weakness from your personal life. This isn’t a therapy session, so telling an interviewer about your personal life issues is the worst possible answer. Additionally, any answer that isn’t related to you professionally tells interviewers you can’t separate personal issues from the workplace.
  3. With a question. “Well, hey, what is truly is anyone’s greatest weakness?” “What is YOUR greatest weakness?” It is a stalling tactic that will shut the interview down and may come off as just rude.
  4. With a strength you are trying to pass as a weakness. This is the oldest trick in the book and it smells like bologna from a mile away. “Well, I am a perfectionist….”
  5. With a one-liner. “I smoke too much.” “I hate people.” This will either end the interview or they will keep asking until you give them more, and you want to air as few weaknesses as possible.

They may ask you the same thing in different forms, so have unique answers for each.

  1. What is your greatest weakness/What are your greatest weaknesses?
  2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
  3. In what area do you think there is room for improvement?
  4. If I were to call your current/previous employer/manager/team leader, what, if any, would they say are your greatest flaws/issues?
  5. What are things about yourself that you are currently working on/think could use improvement?

How to answer:

  1. First state the weakness(es).
  2. Follow it up with a story. Every weakness should be one that, within a professional setting, you learned from. Please note, this should be different from a strength that you are passing off as a weakness. Saying you are a perfectionist is not a weakness, however, saying that you often question yourself and overthink project outcomes is.
  3. State that you are happy that you are aware of it and know how to handle it.


“Hm, that’s a tough one. I suppose I find that I am often way too much of a people pleaser and therefore hyper-focus on making every party happy instead of using my own best judgment.

About a year ago, we were given a project which had to be completed within a week. At the onset, I spent a full day ping-ponging back and forth from different managers to creative etc, just trying to get everyone on the same page and placate everyone.

Finally, on the morning of the second day, I sat down and looked over what everyone wanted and pulled out what was needed. It was sort of a revelation, and from then on I have really worked to cater to the ‘needs’ firstly and to use my own professional judgment to add in everything else after. Consequently, we delivered on time, making my boss really happy with the results.”

Lists of weaknesses that can be applied with a positive result:

  1. Being overly critical of yourself (NOT a perfectionist)
  2. Wanting to please everyone
  3. Being unfamiliar with all the newest trends or products(software, blogs, social media platforms, etc.)
  4. Inexperience

Finally, like all interview questions, try to tailor your answers to fit whatever company you are applying to. For example, if you are applying to IBM as a software developer, inattention to details is not something you should say. Likewise, the story should be one that relates to the industry of the company you are applying to if you can.

Good luck and feel free to visit our other blogs for more great interview tips!