Job Interview Honesty: 4 Ways to Be Sincere Without Sounding Negative 

Job Interview Honesty: 4 Ways to Be Sincere Without Sounding Negative 

For most candidates, interviews can be a challenging experience. The need to impress your interviewer while successfully demonstrating your qualifications through your speech and actions can be seen as a difficult task.

You need to be prepared to respond to questions to prove you’re the best fit for the role. But what exactly do you need to include in your answers to prove you’re the right candidate for the role? Well, job interview honesty and integrity are necessary for you to succeed.


Honesty As a Vital Trait for Candidates 

You might have heard the saying “Honesty is the best policy” over and over again, but there’s a good reason why it’s said often.

According to research, honesty is in fact a highly valued trait that employers and industry leaders look for when screening potential employees. Even outside of America, employers are cited to choose honesty as the top personality trait that impresses them when hiring for open roles.¹

Honesty involves a commitment to telling the truth. Meanwhile, integrity asserts that a person possesses a sense of moral uprightness in everything they do and say.

Employers have the tendency to look for honest people because they want employees they can trust. They want to know the people working for them are transparent about the work they do themselves. Oftentimes, honest employees are transparent about their weaknesses and work towards improving them.

So, in line with this, demonstrating honesty and integrity in an interview can surely help you make a good impression.

Read More: Master the Human Element: 7 Essential Soft Skills for Job Seekers 


Common Interview Pitfalls 

Responding to questions during an interview isn’t about memorizing what some would claim as the ‘right answer’. Instead, it’s about responding with honesty and originality while avoiding interview pitfalls like the following:


1. Lack of Preparation

One of the pitfalls you can encounter is a lack of preparation. Knowing the name of the organization and your role’s responsibilities isn’t enough. You also need to show commitment by researching further details about the company such as its mission and vision.

A lack of preparation could also make you come across as disinterested or unqualified for the role you want. Remember that the majority of your responses should be somewhat catered to the values and principles your desired company upholds. This is how you’d make your interviewer view you as a good fit.

Read More: Job Interview Checklist 


2. Constant Rambling

This is another thing you need to avoid during interviews. Being detailed is different from providing excessively long responses. If you provide answers that often go off-topic, you’re showing your interviewer that you lack focus or proper communication skills.

You could even lead people to think you’re not actually prepared to answer their questions. To increase your chances of getting hired, answer the questions directly and avoid including unnecessary details in your responses.


3. Providing Little to No Content

Some candidates make the mistake of giving superficial answers because they think this makes them sound more professional. Remember that an interview is a way for your potential employer to get to know you as an individual.

When you provide vague responses, you come across as someone who lacks substance and would not be a good fit for their company. As such, avoid using too much jargon and focus on adding content that effectively answers the questions directed to you.


4. Providing Too Much Information

If some candidates say too little, some candidates can also commit the mistake of saying too much. Providing excessive detail about a topic can be counterproductive since it can distract your interviewer from your main point.

Similar to rambling where you include unnecessary details, providing too much information can also hint that you lack good communication skills. The ideal way to give answers is to focus only on the most critical points. Don’t include superficial information like the weather on a specific day or what you were wearing when you solved a problem at the office.


5. Showing Negativity in Responses

Even if you make your answers succinct and remain truthful throughout the whole conversation, the way you deliver them can still greatly impact your performance in an interview. Whether it’s making negative comments about your previous employer or explaining what your co-workers often did wrong, sounding negative can potentially lead to your rejection.

For your interviewer, the way you speak about your previous company could potentially be how you’ll speak about them in the future.


4 Ways to Be Sincere Without Sounding Negative 

We’ve established that honesty is an important trait during interviews, but it can become a double-edged sword when not wielded properly. Too much of it can sometimes result in your answers sounding negative or even demeaning. Consider the following ways to be honest and sincere without making your answers sound negative. This helps you avoid this pitfall.


1. Positively Frame a Situation

The way you frame your responses reflects on you as an individual. So instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a previous experience, emphasize the positive elements. Also, avoid using too many negatory words in your answers like ‘no’ or ‘not’.

Negative Response: In my last job, my boss didn’t do anything at all! There was no feedback given and everything he did didn’t help the team at all.

Positive Response: My previous job required me to be more self-reliant and take initiative in checking the quality of my own outputs. Although there was limited feedback given, my last company honed my critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


2. Maintain a Positive, Constructive Tone

If you want to remain positive, you need to sound positive. Do your best to keep your tone upbeat when responding to questions. Display enthusiasm even when the topic focuses on the least ideal situations or bad experiences you’ve encountered in your career. This would help you seem more positive and forward-looking instead of someone negative who often holds grudges.

Negative Response: I absolutely hated the last project assigned to me there. It was a complete disaster.

Positive Response: The final project I handled for my previous company had its fair share of challenges, but it ultimately taught me that enough determination, focus, and hard work can finish even the most difficult tasks.


3. Structure Your Answers

When responding to questions, it’s best for you to follow a structured approach. Aside from making your answer more organized, it could also help you think faster and generate more effective responses. There are many methods you can follow.

For example, the STAR method or Situation, Task, Action, and Result helps you answer clearly while focusing on the positive outcomes of the situation being discussed.

Negative Response: I was once asked to handle such a picky and difficult client. I hated them so much.

Positive Response: I was once assigned to work with a challenging client (situation) to develop a clear plan for their new project. (task). Despite bumps in the road, I carefully assessed their vision and their goals (action) and eventually came up with a concrete plan they were happy about. (result)


4. Showcase Personal Growth

Potential employers don’t want to hear how challenging your experiences were with other companies. They aren’t there to boost their egos or anything similar. Remember they are there to get to know you better.

So instead of focusing on the difficulties you’ve had, place a stronger emphasis on the personal and professional growth you’ve gained thanks to the situations you’ve gone through. This will ensure a more positive spin even in a very negative situation.

Negative Response: I made terrible mistakes in my previous job because I wasn’t taught how to do my job properly.

Positive Response: I encountered challenges in my previous job that negatively impacted on my performance. I made quite a few mistakes, but those mistakes helped me grow as a professional. It taught me how to be more observant and detail-oriented in the tasks I was assigned to do.



Since 1985, DAVIS Companies takes pride in its ability to put great people and great companies together. We’ve established a great reputation in the manufacturing, engineering, and information technology industries by providing skilled professionals and experts through our staffing and recruiting services.

With our help, it’ll be easier for you to find exceptional opportunities in line with your career goals. Let us help you succeed. With our recruiters, you’ll always be updated and assisted in every step of your job search. Contact us today to learn more!



1 Settembrino, Lauren. “5 Best Personality Traits for a Job Interview.” TopVC, Sept. 2023,

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