20 Embarrassing Things Never to Say in a Job Interview

by Evil HR Lady on March 23, 2015

We all have to do job interviews–either as the candidate or as the boss interviewing candidates. (We’ve all been the candidate at one time or another, regardless of where we sit now.) Lots of different topics come up in job interviews, and conversations go all over the place, but there are 20 words and phrases that should never, ever, come out of your mouth.

1. Retarded. You may have grown up in the era where saying, “That’s so retarded” simply meant something was silly or dumb. For instance, “Mom says I can’t go to the prom because I failed chemistry. That’s so retarded.” Ban this word from not only your job interview vocabulary but your everyday vocabulary. It’s not acceptable. Say what you really mean instead. For instance, “Mom says I can’t go to the prom because I failed chemistry. That’s great parenting!”

2. Almost. “I almost got promoted.” This means you did not get promoted. While almost is a great word for many things, in a job interview, talking about what you “almost” did takes away from what you did do. Focus on actual accomplishments, not things you almost did.

To keep reading, click here: 20 Embarrassing Things Never to Say in a Job Interview

This is the first of 2 (or possibly 3) articles from your amazing stories. Thank you!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

_ism March 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Heads up, The link needs an http – without it just tries to find the page within your own site.


Evil HR Lady March 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Thanks! Fixed.


Roger Rabbit March 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

With respect to your #10, “Can I have some feedback?” I hate when people say things like this. First, “can” means do I have the ability so they are asking me if they have the ability to have feedback. How should I know? Use “may” which means do I have permission. Second, please change this to active voice because even if you are granted permission to have feedback it still doesn’t get to the root of your intention. If you want feecback from me then ask for it with “Could you please share some feedcak?” Finally I can (have the ability to) respond with an appropriate answer which probably will be a variant of no.


fposte March 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm

“May I have” is just as active voice as “Could you please share,” though. “Could feedback be given to me?” would be the passive voice. You’re wanting the question to be framed in second person rather than in first person so that the request is more direct.


Camellia March 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm

You are my grammar hero today. 🙂


Jeanne March 23, 2015 at 9:05 pm

I love all grammar problems. However, unless you have an overly picky interviewer, she will forgive occasional grammar mistakes. You are in a situation where you have to come up with responses on the spot. Even with prepared questions you may be nervous. Your interview overall should sound like you prepared and that you think you can do the job. If it does, they probably won’t concentrate on an occasional pause or grammar issue.


LTMG March 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Overuse of the word “like” or any trendy slang.


Jeanne March 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm

I recently had a medical problem that made me look pregnant. I did get asked when the baby was due. Don’t ask. What if she responds that she’s just fat?

There’s an old quote (maybe Dave Barry?). Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless you see the baby crowning.


mer March 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

If you are interviewing for a mechanics job and are asked a question about getting an engine to run better, your answer may involve changing the timing on the engine. Timing can be advanced or retarded.


It’s not the word, it’s the context of usage.


Evil HR Lady March 24, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Sure. Very specialized, though. Likewise, it’s probably acceptable to say you almost got gold at the Olympics, but ended up with the silver by 0.001 seconds.


Seven Seas Seaport Airport Management Services Pvt Ltd March 26, 2015 at 10:12 am

One should keep this thing into his/her mind while interviewing..


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