When planning to interview candidates, hiring managers tend to focus on what they want to hear from candidates. However, it’s also important to know some things you shouldn’t hear from a candidate. 

As legal recruiters in Toronto, we’ve conducted our fair share of job interviews. Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to how top candidates answer questions compared to those who don’t make the cut. 

There are a lot of great things you’ll hear. But, there are also several things you should never hear in a job interview. If you hear any of the following, it is a sign to tread carefully with the candidate going forward:


Even if you had a poor experience with a past employer, a job interview is not the time for a candidate to sound off. Avoid making negative comments about past employers, co-workers, or yourself. 

How candidates speak of others can be an insight into how they operate and view things. If a candidate approaches things from a negative perspective, they may not look at things from a positive perspective. This could potentially create issues if you hire them. 

“I don’t have any questions about the role”

Asking questions is an opportunity for candidates to learn more and impress hiring managers. Candidates need to come prepared with thoughtful questions that demonstrate their genuine interest in the organization and the role they’re applying for. For instance, asking about the organization’s mission statement, its company culture, or the potential responsibilities associated with the position can convey your enthusiasm and eagerness to be part of the team. If candidates don’t have questions, it can signal they didn’t prepare well enough. It could also mean they are not interested in the job. 

Cliche responses

The objective of an interview is for candidates to stand out from the crowd, not blend in. If a candidate responds with cliche or generic answers you can find online, it’s a sign they may not be cut out for the job. It could also be a sign they lack experience or knowledge and are trying to mask this by using a regurgitated response they found online. 

If a candidate provides a typical response, dig deeper and ask follow-up questions to test the depth of their experience. 

Excessive jargon

Communication skills are in high demand. Watch out for candidates who use too much jargon when they speak. This can hamper their ability to communicate clearly. It can also be a way for them to mask their shortcomings. If a candidate uses a lot of jargon, ask them to explain things in simpler terms. 


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Marisa Capozzi

Marisa Capozzi

Marisa is a Director on the Legal Recruitment team, where she helps match her clients with the best legal talent in the market, from law clerks to legal office administrators. Marisa has spent over 17 years building her career as a legal recruiter where she has developed expertise in establishing long-lasting relationships with clients and candidates. Armed with exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, she prioritizes understanding clients' unique needs to ensure successful partnerships within the legal industry. Her commitment to forging meaningful connections has consistently elevated her reputation in the legal recruitment arena.

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