When you are applying for part time jobs, part of the recruitment process will almost always involve an interview. Whilst this is exciting – you have reached that stage of the process so the company must be impressed with what they have seen in your application and your CV – an interview can also be a nervous time, too.
We have given you tips in the past about how to shine in an interview situation. This is the stage where you really need to impress and yet, because it’s a crucial time and you are fully aware that your every word is being assessed, you can find yourself saying things you wouldn’t usually come out with.
If you are successful in reaching the interview stage for a part time job, it’s all about doing your homework and getting yourself prepared so that you are ready for the questions put to you. Part of that preparation is knowing what not to say when you sit down in the interview room or take the call for the telephone interview.
Make sure you land that part time job. Don’t fall at this final hurdle. Here are 23 things not to say in your part time job interview.
“How much do I get paid for this part time job?”
When you saw the original job advert that made you want to do part time work for this company, chances are there was at least a rough salary guide within that ad. So you should already have some idea as to your hourly rate or annual salary. Even if it said salary was negotiable, the interview stage is not the time or the place to start negotiating. You do this once you have been awarded the job.
Asking how much you are going to get paid during the interview session does not send the right message to your interviewer. Yes, we all want financial reward for our efforts but your potential future boss wants to hear what skills and personality you have got to offer their company. They want to see you are keen to work and learn.
“So, what does everyone do around here?”
Really? You haven’t bothered to research the company you have applied to? That does not send the right messages to your interviewer. They want to know you have applied for a part time role at their company because you think you are a good fit. They want to know you have a genuine interest in the firm and what they do. How do you know you are going to be good at your job if you don’t even know what that job is?
“I’ll do anything.”
Whilst you might think “I’ll do anything,” will impress your potential future boss, it actually sends a signal of desperation with your mind not completely focused on the part time job vacancy that was advertised.
Instead, you need to highlight your enthusiasm, your skills, qualifications or experience that makes you the best person for that particular job. Why do you think you can be successful in that role?
“My last boss was an idiot.”
Even if your previous boss wasn’t your favourite person, nobody needs to know that. It says more about you than it does about your boss if you are willing to badmouth someone at interview. The person interviewing you is going to get the impression that you could badmouth them or other people within the company.
Also, don’t forget, it is likely going to be your previous boss who is the person giving you a reference to help you get this job. Why burn your bridges by bad mouthing them to your potential future employer?
“Sitting where you are,” when asked about where you want to be in 5-10 years.
When asked about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, whilst you might think an answer of ‘sitting where you are,’ shows you have drive and ambition, it also comes across as a challenge for that person’s job. That is not the impression you want to give in interview.
Whatever type of part time role you are applying for – entry level or senior roles – put an emphasis on what you hope to learn for your role, any training you would be keen to do or other professional development.
“I don’t have any weaknesses.”
A common question that crops up in interview is about your weaknesses. Telling the interviewer that you don’t have any weaknesses is not going to win you this part time job. It makes you seem overconfident. We are all human beings and we all face challenges. You are not the exception.
Being able to identify your weaknesses and being able to explain how you overcome them in the workplace is really what your potential future employer is looking for from you.
“How many holidays / how much sickness leave do I get?”
Holidays and the company sickness leave policy are items on the agenda after you have been awarded the part time job. If you ask about holidays and sickness leave during interview, this does not give the impression to your interviewer that you are committed to the job and the company. Rather, you are already planning how much time you can spend away from the workplace.
People want to employ staff who are going to arrive at work and make a valuable contribution to the company; not someone who is going to be ringing in sick all the time.
“I don’t have any questions.”
You might have come through a brilliant interview for your part time job and you feel you have answered all the questions to the best of your ability. Don’t get caught out at the end by saying, “I don’t have any questions,” when the interviewer asks you if you have anything you want to ask. Prepare some questions beforehand by doing a little bit of research about the company and asking something relevant that shows you have done that research. You need to keep impressing the interviewer right up until you walk out of the door.
You can’t possibly know everything there is to know about the company and the role you have applied for so have those positive questions prepared. This gives the impression you are taking the role seriously.
“I hate the job I’m doing at the moment.”
You’re sitting in the interview and the interviewer asks, “Why did you apply for this part time job?” Answering this question with, “Because I hate the job I’m doing at the moment,” is not going to impress.
It might be the truth and you might be desperate to leave it and do something else but you interviewer doesn’t want to hear that. They want to hear all about your qualities and what it is about their vacancy and their company that has attracted you to apply.
“I have holidays planned in a few weeks.”
And that’s fine. Lots of people plan their holidays in advance and companies know this. It’s just that your interviewer does not need to hear this in interview. You are keen to land their part time job, not take off on holiday right now.
If you are awarded the job, that’s when you can negotiate with your new boss to honour your holidays. For now, you are showing off your credentials that you think will land you the job. Don’t talk yourself out of it by starting to explain the days you won’t be in work.
“I haven’t worked out my childcare arrangements yet.”
Parents applying for part time work; yes, there are so many benefits to part time work for mums out there who have a young family. You have taken the plunge and got your application in and now, here you are at the interview stage. No need to set alarm bells ringing for your potential new boss that you have no idea, just yet, who will be looking after the kids when you’re at work.
Obviously, you are going to want to make sure you have at least some temporary arrangements in place until you can arrange a more permanent solution but that’s for you to sort once you have been awarded the job. There are various childcare options out there for parents who are in part time work. You can choose the best route for you and your family.
“I need to take this call.”
We all carry our phones with us these days but make sure, when you go into that interview room, your phone is either switched off or in silent mode. You need to be showing your interviewer that the part time job you have applied for is your number 1 priority. After all, if you can’t sit through a 20-30 interview without being distracted, how are you going to be able to do your job effectively? Give your interview your full attention.
“Sorry I’m late.”
“Sorry I’m late,” says you are not punctual. If you are not punctual for the interview, can you be punctual for work? There are lots of situations that could crop up to make you late: one of the kids isn’t feeling well, the traffic was bad, you got lost. Do your best to prepare for these eventualities because they are not your interviewer’s concern. These are all things that could happen during any work day and you need to be able to find ways around them.
Can a parent or friend look after your children whilst you go for the interview? Don’t get lost or stuck in traffic. Do a dummy run to the interview place before the real thing. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and where traffic hotspots are. You could take an alternative route so that you’re not late.
“I have an appointment at ____.”
Make sure you don’t have any appointments apart from your interviews for that day. You need to be showing your potential new employers that this part time job is your main priority. You don’t want to give the impression that this interview is an inconvenience for you. That’s a sure fire way of making sure you don’t get the job.
“These hours are difficult for me. Are they negotiable?”
If you applied for this part time job knowing what the hours were, sitting in interview and asking can you change therm is not going to impress your interviewer. They will assume that you applied because the hours did work for you.
If you think there might be a problem with the hours, depending on the nature of the job, if you are awarded it, you can then discuss alternative arrangements. You might be able to swap shifts with other staff members or work flexible hours. Those are arrangements to be made one you are working in the role.
“The current government is no good.”
Whether you think the current government is good or not is irrelevant to your interview and both politics and religion should be left well alone. If your interviewer has completely opposing political views to yours, it’s not going to endear you to them for being awarded the job. Stick to talking about your skills and qualities for the job you applied for.
“Because I need the job.”
Another one not to say if you are asked why you want to work for this company. Flatter your potential new boss. You want to work for their company because of the company ethos, the challenges you will face within the role, to help customers have an unforgettable experience – whatever the role is, tell the interviewer why you are so keen to be involved.
Okay, you might need the job but using that as a reason does not tell the interviewer that you have any genuine interest in the company or the role.
“This will be a good stepping stone for running my own business.”
You might have big dreams and plans of running your own business one day. Perhaps you are already doing just that and need this part time job until you can get your own business off the ground.
If you tell your interviewer this, however, it’s not going to help your case for landing the job. Recruitment is an expensive business and the company wants to think that whoever is warded their job is going to be sticking around for a while. They don’t want to think you’re going to quit as soon as you get a better opportunity working for yourself.
“The perks. The holidays.” (When asked about why you want to work for the company.)
You have wanted to work for this company for a long time because you have been told about all the great things they do for their staff. The perks and the paid holidays are great! Now, here you are in interview and it’s your big chance to finally get a part time job with them. Don’t blow it now by saying the only reason you want this role is because of those perks and holidays! Keep your answer centred on the role and all the things you want to learn from the job.
“Go to the pub.” (When asked about what you do with your spare time.)
Of course, going to the pub is not a crime and you might spend quite a bit of your spare time down the local. But, if you are asked about what you do with your spare time, try to get creative. If you go to the pub to be with friends or play pool, explain how you like socialising and playing games. What other things do you do with your spare time? Have a few answers prepared beforehand. Do you enjoy cooking, walking, running, photography? Make a thing out of these.
“I’m a quick learner.”
You might be a very quick learner and whilst it might sound impressive to you, “I’m a quick learner,” tells your interviewer that you have no experience for this part time job. Instead, concentrate on all those transferrable skills you have that you can apply to your new role.
“I have a hangover.”
Whether you have a hangover, a headache, tummy ache, your new interview shoes are hurting your feet, you’re tired because the kids had you up all night; your interviewer doesn’t need to know any of this. If you are preoccupied with this in interview, are you going to be preoccupied when you are in the workplace. Your potential new boss needs to know you can stay focused on the job in hand.
“When will I find out if I have the job?”
This question can come across as pushy. At the end of the interview, rather than asking about when you find if you have got the job or not, thank the interview team for their time. If they don’t give you any clues about how they will let you know whether you have been awarded the job, you can call the company the following day.
The interview stage of job applications is often the final hurdle before landing the job and you have already done really well to reach this point. Take a look at all these statements and make sure they are not part of your part of your answers when you apply for part time work.