For many students, the working world is just around the corner. Speaking with a potential employer can be extremely intimidating. Here are five tips on what not to say to a possible employer.
“Well, I’m not sure, but maybe…”
Coming off as unsure, or yielding inaccurate information, can be a major red flag for employers.
“Think through what you’re saying extra carefully,” psychology sophomore Lisa Bertholdt said. “You don’t want to rush through forming an answer for your boss, or future boss, during an interview. It’s much better to pause and think, than babble and say something you don’t mean.”
If you are unsure how to respond to a question, do not be afraid to ask for clarification.
“I’m not very good with…”
Never showcase your weaknesses — that leaves room for employers to focus on them, perhaps giving them reason to reject you after an interview. Instead, put your strengths on a pedestal, be positive and turn what you lack into something you can supplement and fix.
“Don’t be negative about yourself, or about the company,” German lecturer Angelica Browne said. “Don’t talk about problems, talk about solutions.”
“Trump’s frequent golfing only adds to his sophisticated demeanor.”
When you talk about politics, you enter the danger zone. Although it may be a popular topic for jokes at times, it can also raise tension and bring up intense disagreement.
“Be as apolitical as you can in the workspace, unless it is related to your profession or in the rare occasion it serves to your advantage to be otherwise,” materials engineering senior Marc Hermann said. “Staying neutral in politics can avoid conflict and inadvertent biases from your coworkers, in such that it could harm workplace productivity.”
“My previous boss was such a…”
Talking badly about your previous employer, even if it’s meant to compliment the tendencies of your future employer, is extremely unprofessional.
“My advice is to not say anything negative when asked about your previous boss, manager, or supervisor,” software engineering sophomore Tim Newman said. “Even if it’s a funny story, I wouldn’t say it unless you’re good friends with whoever you’re saying it to. The negativity kind of taints the image your new boss is forming of you.”
“Catch me at the nearest dispensary tomorrow.”
Even with advances in drug laws, it still remains, at least for now, unprofessional to speak about recreational drug usage around your employer. Just like you would not talk about how you are going to head home after work and slap a wine bag, you wouldn’t talk about heading to the store that has just earned its cannabis retail license.
“Drugs and alcohol are not something you should mention in the workplace for obvious reasons,” mechanical engineering freshman Solie Grantham said. “Not only is it unprofessional, but it is controversial. By mentioning recreational drugs and alcohol, you are creating room for discussion that doesn’t belong in your workspace.”
Oftentimes, what is appropriate to say to your employer can be very apparent. By simply remaining respectful, sensitive and mindful, you can make a strong impression on your new or potential boss.