What to Say and Not to Say in a Job Interview?

It is not so easy to talk about yourself in the interview. This article will tell you what you should and what you should not say.


If you’ve ever been to a job interview, you know about the tricky question “Tell me about yourself.” What should you tell? How to do this? What does the employer want to hear? The answer is unknown.

But do not be afraid of this request, the person who is interviewing you, most of all wants you to pass the interview successfully. And there are things which the employer is interested to know. But there is also something that is not worth saying.

Answering the question about yourself, remember two rules:

  • Do not tell your life story.
  • Tell some useful information to the employer.

The first rule to follow is simple enough. The interlocutor does not need your life story, and certainly he is not going to sit and listen to it. Instead, tell him/her what you think will be useful for the employer to know. This includes:

  • recent professional success;
  • achievements in education;
  • useful skills;
  • career goals;
  • why you are interested in the company.

It is desirable to give each category not more than 30 seconds. In sum, you will have the presentation for about 2.5 minutes. That’s what should be included into each of these categories.

Recent professional achievements


  • 3-5 recent achievements.
  • Mention the successes that affect the position for which you are applying.
  • Practice, practice, practice. This part is the most important. It is worth getting ready for it in advance and carefully prepare the mind map of your response.


  • Retell your resume.
  • Waste time talking about your experiences.
  • Mention the achievements that are not relevant to the profession.

Achievements in Education


  • Explain how your skills will help to cope with the responsibilities.
  • Tell what you have learned in the last place of work.
  • The experience that you received while working on the biggest project.


  • Go through all the items of your education (school, university, courses).
  • Retell your resume.
  • Talk about the skills that are pointless.
  • If you are a professional in business, it is not necessary to repeat each course, conference and presentation which you have visited or performed at. Instead, focus on the useful skills that will come in handy at the new place of work.

Useful skills


  • Prepare 2-4 useful skills.
  • Tell about how they can help in practice.
  • Tell how you have got them.


  • Lie about your skills.
  • Talk about the skills that are not related to work (I had a rock band, my paintings were shown at the exhibition).
  • Tell lies.
  • It is better to choose 2-4 skills that you possess and which will be useful at work and try to describe them as well as possible.

Career goals


  • Mention the objectives which the company can help you achieve.
  • Tell about the purpose which will show that you are thinking about the future.
  • Show that you want stability and career growth.


  • Talk about life goals (I want to buy a house, have kids).
  • Mention the goals that the company cannot help you achieve.
  • Talk about the things that show your incompetence.

When a person has no clear career goals, he looks incompetent from aside. Specify your goals clearly and in advance so that this question will not catch you by surprise.

Why you are interested in the company


  • Tell how the company will help you achieve your goals.
  • Say that you like the working atmosphere.
  • Hint that you see yourself in the company in the future.


  • Talking about salary.
  • Saying “I just need a job.”
  • Talking about the fact you want to work because there are good people around.

Having prepared a story about yourself, based on the above rules, you will save yourself from awkward pauses and will not force the employer to listen to the information that he/she does not need. This will significantly increase their chances of having a successful interview.

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