During job interviews, prospective hires strive to put their best foot forward and provide thoughtful, impressive answers to the interviewer’s questions. While there are countless interview questions an interviewer can ask during the meeting, it’s crucial for interviewees to ensure the answers they give aren’t stale. No matter whether a prospective hire is only saying what they think the interviewer wants to hear or they’ve searched how to answer a question “correctly,” some interviewers can get tired of a seemingly rehearsed answer.
Below, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the rehearsed interview answers they’re tired of hearing and what candidates should say instead.
1. I Work Too Hard
“My weakness is that I work too hard,” or some other 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 healthy mentally and physically, and a good work-life balance is key to that. Not only that, but this answer also tells the interviewer that the candidate is not able to show weakness. This will create problems down the road as the candidate needs to work within a team. Teams are meant to support each other’s weaknesses, and if one member refuses to acknowledge their weakness, the team can’t support that person. Instead, candidates should really show they are self-aware and try to identify areas where they may need support down the line, which also indicates a receptiveness 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 it is often the first one that interviewers ask. It’s almost like an icebreaker to start a conversation. But there are some answers that people seem to overuse, such as “I am a team player” or “I work well with others.” One answer that I am tired of hearing in interviews is, “I have no weaknesses.” This is a very general answer and it doesn’t really tell you anything about someone’s skill set. If you’re instead offering a specific weakness, then it would be better to say something like “I am 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
One overused line I hear fairly often is, “I’m a problem solver.” If that answer gets elaborated on, it works just fine. But I’ve personally heard people give that answer and expect it to be a sufficient response. 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’re actually applying for a job that needs you to have the ability to work on something and take on a task? This word is overused and seemingly nonsense, especially when there’s no sincerity and the answer isn’t backed up with the importance of your role. Everyone can say they’re responsible, but it cannot be proven until there’s consistency and initiative on their end. – Daisy Jing, Banish
5. I Want To Be A Manager In Two Years
When 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 think that candidates should be ambitious, a statement like that shows a lack of experience and self-awareness. It takes trust for an employee to be put into a higher role with authority and responsibilities. Someone in a senior role needs to manage their peers and teammates, and they have to take the company forward. Someone who is brand new won’t know how the company works or know the people there. Declaring that they want to be a manager in a short span of time doesn’t make sense. Instead, a candidate could 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 Balkhi, WPBeginner
6. I’m A Perfectionist
In response to “What is your greatest weakness?”, most people’s instinctive reaction 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 off as insincere. A better way to answer this question is by giving an example of a time when you struggled in the workplace but were able to overcome the challenge. For instance, you could 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’re willing to admit your weaknesses, yet be proactive about finding solutions. It also shows your intrinsic characteristics and desire for continuous development. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
7. I Didn’t Like My Boss
An overused answer I hear whenever 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 assess if you’re the problem, not the job. You should try to turn the conversation around to the new opportunity at hand. A better response would be to say that you didn’t see a lot of opportunities with your previous employer, and when you heard about this new opportunity, you saw potential career and financial growth. No matter what the interviewers ask, you need to focus on making your case for why you’re the best fit for the job. Highlight your skills, impact and knowledge of the company that you’re applying for. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. I Have A Lot Of Experience
One answer that I’m tired of hearing is, “I have a lot of experience.” I have heard this answer from people who have been in a job for a year without experience. On the other hand, I’ve also heard “I have a lot of experience” from people who have been in a job for more than three years and still haven’t gained any experience. Rather, what I like to hear is that you have a lot of skills and that you have a lot of experience with them. It is important to highlight your skills, or, if you have any experience in a job or an internship, you can tell how these skills helped you excel. You can share your personal experience about how you used that skill. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
9. I’m A Quick Learner
Personally, I’m wary of job candidates stating they should be hired because they are quick learners and can work fast at everything they do. That may be true, but there is hardly a scale to rate job candidates on these attributes, so it is of little value to me. Plus, being a fast worker doesn’t mean the work turns out to be high quality. I would prefer if a candidate said they are willing to apply themselves to learning everything about the company and can work efficiently at most tasks with proper instruction. This is a more thoughtful, authentic answer that shows the job applicant to be diligent and seeking to be a long-term employee. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
10. I’m Hard Working
An overused, rehearsed job interview answer I hear all the time is, “I’m hard working.” Listing out general qualities is outdated and bears no weight. Instead, it would be better to expand on that and tell us more about what you’ve achieved that proves you’re hard working. Whether you’re just out of college or carrying 10 years of experience, in this day and age, it’s better to put forth numbers, goals and milestones you’ve crossed. Companies want to know how you can contribute to their success, and it’s in your best interest to prove that you’ll be an asset to them. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO