There is a reason that interviewers are restricted by law in what they can ask prospective employees. It’s very easy to discriminate against those who volunteer too much information, or give the wrong impression due to nerves. Here are a few topics you should never bring up in a job interview:
“I’m in a band.”
Avoid volunteering information about being in a band. While it might be a fun personal detail to tell a boss that you play an instrument, don’t advertise membership in a band. This often sends up a warning sign for potential employers, as bands may tour, play gigs, or need time for recording – time which may employees to ask off work. Save talking about a band until after you’re hired, and you’ve proven what a reliable person you can be.
“I have children.”
As sad as it is, there is very real discrimination against primary caretakers of children, or even of older parents. Employers are not allowed to ask about family or children, so don’t volunteer this in an interview. Employers may worry that children will mean time missed from work due to a child’s illness, school schedule and pickup, family vacations, etc. Workers without children are also cheaper to insure.
“I’m planning on going back to school this fall.”
This is a dangerous statement to make to an employer. Announcing that you are planning to return to school may be an issue if you are interviewing for a job with traditional work hours. Employers may also worry that once you have a degree, you will be searching for a job in that field. Work out school arrangements after you get the job.
“I’m just looking for a job until something opens up in my field.”
A lot of people are working below their skill level right now, but it’s important not to make that obvious to a potential employer. If you are clearly overqualified for a job, then be sure to spend some extra time preparing a reasonable statement about why you plan to be a long term employee. It’s an investment to train any worker, and it’s simply not worth the time to bring on an employee that won’t be working there for long.
“I really need the money.”
Whenever you are applying for a job in person or online, never mention how hard times are for you. Not only will an employer not take pity on you, but it gives some the impression that you cannot manage your finances. If you are truly desperate for a job, go out of your way to prepare for each interview, instead of relying on the good nature of someone else. Research the company, and prepare examples of your work to show, if possible.
Even if you are applying for a fast food job, it’s still possible to learn about the income level of the area, or about which businesses surround the restaurant. From there, you could write up a proposal to distribute coupons to local people who may be inclined to eat there for lunch. Just show the employer that you can be proactive! Enthusiasm is more attractive than desperation to any boss.
Of course, it’s important never to lie in an interview, but by avoiding some of less known job interview dangers, you can help yourself land a job. Also remember that once you are employed and have proven that you are an asset, most employers will be more than willing to accommodate requests for time off, flexible hours, or better benefits. Be yourself in an interview, but don’t give employers any reason to choose someone that they perceive to be lower maintenance.