It’s hard to believe that with all the available advice out there, people still don’t know what to say and not to say in job interviews.

Candidates still show up not knowing anything about the organization with which they’re applying and say things like “I really needs this job.”

Record scratch.

Way to blow it.

Here are three things that you must never say, and three things that you absolutely must say in every job interview.

Do say “I want the job.” You have to say that you want the job.
Oi Global Partners managing partner Tom Wharton explained to me for a recent article that the interviewer does not assume, just because you applied for a job and showed up for the interview, that you want the job.

Wharton said, “It’s just amazing to me how many interviewees assume that just because you’re sitting in that chair, that we know you want the job. I really don’t know if you do unless you tell me.”

Say something like, “I want you to know that I am very interested in the position and am ready to give it my all.”

Don’t say “I need the job.” Your needs are irrelevant. The employer will hire the person who will bring the most benefit to their organization, not the person who needs the job. You not knowing this sends a red flag that you are self centered and will not be working for the company but for yourself. Demonstrate that you have the employer’s needs in mind, not your own.

Do say “I have spent a lot of time researching the company and I see that…” The number one complaint from hiring managers is that candidates, even those who make it to the interview, do not do their research. This is potentially the ONE thing that will make or break the interview. Say the above sentence and finish it with something you have learned — “I see that you are the industry leader in robotic arm design,” or something you have noticed that applies directly to the job for which you’re applying. So, in my case, as a writer, that might be “I see that you only update the blog once a month. I assume you plan to change that?”

Don’t say “What exactly is it that this company does anyway?” If you show up not knowing anything about the company, you have pretty much sealed your fate as a “do not hire.”

Do say “Who are you not reaching and why?” This is a suggestion that comes from Peter Harris, who explained in an article titled “The best thing you can say in a job interview,” that coupled with your demonstrated knowledge of what the company does, this indicates that you have thought about the target market of the organization and have come into the interview thinking about the future.

Though that particular position was a writing postion, the same question could be adapted for any industry: Who isn’t shopping/dining/visiting here now, and why not? Who doesn’t use your product or service, and why?

Don’t say “No I don’t have any questions for you.” If you have done the research and are interested in the role and company, you will have questions. Not questions like “How much vacation time do I get?” but questions like the example I just gave. Saying “No” when asked “Do you have any questions for me,” makes you look lazy and uninterested. You must ask questions.