During interviews, potential employees strive to put their best foot forward and provide thoughtful, impactful answers to the interviewer’s questions. While there are numerous interview questions that an interviewer can ask during the meeting, it is critical that the interviewees ensure that the answers they provide are not old. It doesn’t matter if a potential employee just says what they think the interviewer wants to hear or if they’ve been looking for how to answer a question “correctly,” some interviewers can get tired of a seemingly rehearsed answer.
Below 10 members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs share the rehearsed interview answers they are tired of hearing and what candidates should say instead.
1. I work too hard
“My weakness is that I work too hard,” or another variation of this phrase, portrays a poor work-life balance as a weakness when the candidate clearly means to portray it as a strength. I want my employees to be mentally and physically healthy, and a good work-life balance is essential. Not only that, but this answer also tells the interviewer that the candidate cannot show any weakness. This will cause problems later on because the candidate has to work in a team. Teams are meant to support each other’s weaknesses, and if a member refuses to acknowledge their weakness, the team cannot support that person. Instead, candidates should really show that they are self-aware and try to identify areas where they may need support, which also indicates that they are receptive to feedback. – Liam Leonard, DML Capital
2. I have no weaknesses
A common question that comes up during job interviews is, “What are your strengths?” This question can be difficult to answer and is often the first question interviewers ask. It’s almost like an ice breaker to start a conversation. But there are some answers that people seem to use too much, such as “I’m a team player” or “I work well with others.” One answer I’m tired of hearing in interviews is, “I don’t have any weaknesses.” This is a very general answer and it doesn’t really say anything about one’s skills. If instead you’re offering a specific weakness, it’s better to say something like “I’m not good at public speaking” or “I’m not good at managing people.” – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
3. I’m a problem solver
A common line I hear quite often is, “I’m a problem solver.” If that answer is fleshed out, it will work just fine. But I’ve personally heard people give that answer and expect it to be a sufficient answer. I want to know what makes you a problem solver. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? Including these extra details can make all the difference during your interview. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
4. I am responsible
I mean, who isn’t responsible when you actually apply for a job that requires you to have the opportunity to work on something and take on a job? This word is overused and seems nonsense, especially when there is no sincerity and the answer is not supported by the importance of your role. Anyone can say they are responsible, but it cannot be proven until there is consistency and initiative on their side. – Daisy Jing, Banned
5. I want to be a manager in two years
If a candidate says something along the lines of “I want to be a manager in two years”, it sends the wrong signal. While I absolutely believe that candidates should be ambitious, such a statement shows a lack of experience and self-awareness. It takes confidence for an employee to be placed in a higher role with authority and responsibilities. Someone in a higher position must guide his colleagues and teammates, and they must move the company forward. Someone who is brand new doesn’t know how the company works or doesn’t know the people there. Announcing that they want to become a manager in a short period of time makes no sense. Instead, a candidate might say that they are willing to learn and eventually take on a leadership role. A mature and thoughtful approach like this can make a huge difference. – Syed Balkan, WPBeginner
6. I’m a perfectionist
In response to “What’s your biggest weakness?”, most people’s instinctive response is to give an answer like, “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.” While these answers may make you seem like a good employee, they also come across as disingenuous. A better way to answer this question is to give an example of a time when you struggled in the workplace but were able to overcome the challenge. For example, you might say, “I used to struggle with time management, but I’ve developed some strategies that help me stay on track.” This answer shows that you are willing to admit your weaknesses, yet are proactive in finding solutions. It also shows your intrinsic qualities and desire for continuous development. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Beautiful, Inc.
7. I didn’t like my boss
A common answer I hear when I ask someone why they left their previous job is, “They didn’t pay enough,” or “I didn’t like my boss.” Keep in mind that the interviewer is trying to judge if you’re the problem, not the job. Try to redirect the conversation to the new opportunity that is available. A better response would be to say you didn’t see many opportunities with your previous employer, and when you heard about this new opportunity, you saw potential career and financial growth. Whatever the interviewers ask, you should focus on arguing why you’re the best fit for the job. Highlight your skills, impact and knowledge of the company you are applying for. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes
8. I have a lot of experience
One answer I’m tired of hearing is, “I have a lot of experience.” I’ve heard this answer from people who have been in a job for a year with no experience. On the other hand, I have also heard “I have a lot of experience” from people who have been in a job for more than three years and still have no experience. What I’d rather hear is that you have a lot of skills and you have a lot of experience with it. It’s important to highlight your skills, or, if you have some experience in a job or internship, share how these skills have helped you excel. You can share your personal experience of how you used that skill. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
9. I’m a quick learner
Personally, I am wary of applicants who claim to be hired because they learn quickly and can work quickly at whatever they do. That may be true, but there’s hardly a scale to rate job applicants on these traits, so it’s of little value to me. Moreover, a fast worker does not mean that the work is of high quality. I’d rather see a candidate say they’re willing to learn everything about the company and can work efficiently on most tasks with proper instruction. This is a more thoughtful, authentic response that shows that the applicant is diligent and aspiring to be a long-term employee. – Baruch Labunskic, Rank Safe
10. I’m hard at work
A common, rehearsed job interview answer I hear all the time is, “I’m working hard.” Listing general qualities is outdated and does not count. Instead, it would be better to expand on that and tell us more about what you’ve accomplished, that proves you’re working hard. Whether you’re fresh out of college or have 10 years of experience, these days it’s better to bring out numbers, goals, and milestones you’ve achieved. Companies want to know how you can contribute to their success, and it is in your best interest to prove that you are an asset to them. – Benjamin Rojas, All in one SEO