7 Things a Candidate Shouldn’t Say to You in an Interview

July 12, 2020

Candidates are often known to stumble over their words in an interview setting. Their nerves can get the better of them and they end up rambling through answers. In real life and in work settings, they might be completely professional and succinct in their responses, but something about the interview setting brings out the worst in people.

While interviewers can make allowances for those struggling with their nerves, there are some things you certainly don’t want to hear in an interview. Sometimes a candidate gives you a perfect reason not to hire them, you just need to learn how to listen out for the signs. When working in engineering recruitment, it's important to spot the signs of a padded CV, poor preparation, and an uninterested candidate very quickly.

In this guide, we are going to look at 7 red flags that candidates might bring up during an interview. You will either want to follow up with further questions to determine how serious it is or rule the candidate out entirely. Read on to discover 7 things a candidate should never say to you in an interview.

1. Badmouthing their current or previous employer

If a candidate wants to badmouth their existing employer, let them. What they tell you will be very revealing about their character, their loyalty, and their approach to work. It doesn’t matter how awful your existing role is, it’s important to remain professional and avoid badmouthing your employer. Their complaints will often be very revealing.

2. Unable to think of a single flaw or weakness

Anyone unable to think of a single flaw or weakness is either lying or they lack self-awareness. Flaws or weaknesses aren’t always a bad thing, as long as you are aware of them and taking steps to improve. If the candidate cannot see any weaknesses or flaws in their professional performance, this could be a sign of arrogance or a lack of self-awareness. These are both undesirable traits in the engineering sector as you want workers who are always looking to improve their skills and training.

3. “I don’t have experience in that, but...”

No interviewer will listen to anything that comes after the “but” in this statement. If you are looking for a candidate with experience and they have managed to slip through the net without it, it’s doubtful that the interview will last much longer. It doesn’t matter if the candidate has equivalent experience when you are looking for a very specific skill set. In this situation, be grateful that they didn’t try to bluff their way through.

4. “I could start today”

There is a fine line between keen and desperate. If a candidate is too available, they can expect to be offered a lower salary than someone who has to work out their notice period. If a candidate has been made redundant through no fault of their own, this is a different story. Be prepared to ask further questions to find out why the candidate is available to start straight away.

5. “I already know I haven’t got the job”

Admitting defeat during the interview is a sign that the candidate struggles in tense situations. They will often start the interview talking about how nervous they are and bring it up repeatedly. Nerves are to be expected, but the candidate needs to remain professional. Once they have made up their mind that they haven’t got the job, they will likely stop giving their best performance. This puts the interviewer in a difficult position, as they shouldn’t have to offer encouragement.

6. “Is that what I wrote?”

If a candidate has to check something on their own CV, this can raise some questions about the truthfulness of their application. Forgetting a date or a statistic from their CV can be forgiven, but forgetting key facts that they have mentioned on their CV or cover letter could mean they are stretching the truth. A candidate should prepare for an interview by learning their own CV and cover letter, so this could be a sign they are unprepared.

7. “I don’t have any questions”

Does the candidate really want to work for your company if they can’t think of a single question to ask? At the very least, a candidate should ask the next steps in the process. If they have no questions, they are either unprepared for the interview, or they aren’t interested in the opportunity.

Nolan Recruitment is a Specialist Engineering Recruitment Agency. One of the UK's best Engineering & Technical Recruiter

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