1. “I’m a highly motivated, proactive problem-solver.”
All you are really saying to your employer is…nothing. This answer doesn’t really give specific skills you have learned from current jobs, it is just a generic statement that looks “good” on paper. Rehearse a few specific skills (and examples!) that you can reply with.
2. “What’s your vacation policy?”
Ouch, this is a no-no. Your employer will think you are only concerned about getting out of work, not getting in, and will not take you seriously as a candidate. This runs along the same lines of “What are your rules of personal leave?” “How often do you give raises?” and other questions that don’t focus on the job, but what should be HR details you will find out when you are negotiating/accepting the job.
3. “My greatest weakness? I’m a perfectionist.”
Until I read this, I believe I have said this at every interview. We have been programmed to respond to the “greatest weakness” question with something that can be flipped into a positive. This is still true, however it is better to take an actual flaw that you have recognized and are taking proactive steps to change it. This shows you are a real human, but also that you are capable of recognizing areas of improvement and are capable of change.
4. “My last boss? Terrible.”
By badmouthing your boss/employer/co-workers you sound unprofessional and like someone that cannot take responsibility. No matter how awful your last job or boss was, don’t complain about it. Focus on some key skills, projects, career development points; something that you can elaborate on that highlights why you are a great hire.
5. “What do you do around here?”
…or anything along the lines of “Tell me more about your company.” shows that you have not done your research before coming into the interview. In order to best prepare for an interview, you must first actually prepare! Research the company, what they do, projects they put out, community involvement, or whatever multi-faceted aspects the company does. This not only shows you are prepared for the interview, but also that you will do your homework on tasks they assign you in the future.
6. “No, I don’t have any questions.”
The final question that most employers ask you can be a difficult one to answer. I have sometimes been so overwhelmed by the interview that when they ask me what questions I have, I totally draw a blank. You need to prepare for this scenario, too, by creating a multitude of questions that you can ask them (just in case they answer some in the interview). You want to appear (and hopefully you will be) interested in the job and the company and be someone that can engage coworkers and/or clients. A great question to finish with is “What are your future goals and how can I help you achieve them?” I can hear them printing your offer letter right now.