A 1-In-100 Blogger: Top 5 Things NOT To Say During A Job Interview

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Top 5 Things NOT To Say During A Job Interview

Let's face it, we're in a recession. It's tough to stay motivated during your darkest job search days. People are losing their jobs, and other employment opportunities are becoming more and more difficult to obtain. And crummy unpaid internship positions at for-profit firms appeal to just about nobody -- except, of course, for young people who need the experience and are still in college.

Due to our current downturn in the economy, if you're unemployed or simply on the lookout for a new job, every chance at being hired is increasingly important. In a sense, missing out on a single opportunity to land the job you want could mean another month--or possibly longer--of job searching. So what can you do to maximize your chance of being hired during a job interview? I've compiled a list of the top five things NOT to say during a job interview, as these can quickly wreck your chance at being employed. Starting with number five.

5. "How long until I get a promotion?"

Employer interpretation: Ask not what I can do for you. What can you do for me?

Why: Asking questions about salary or benefits prior to getting a job offer is a major turnoff. Come across as overly aggressive and you may scare the interviewer into rejecting you.

Tip: Slow down. you want to show you're goal-oriented, but you don't want to come off as entitled, or ready to leave a job you don't even have yet. Let the prospective employer initiate salary discussions. It is OK to give a range, or to ask what they feel the range is for the position. However, it can be a turnoff if you are the one to initiate the subject of salary. Ultimately, you want to be seen as someone who focuses on getting the job done.

4. "I don't have any negative points."

Employer interpretation: I'm not completely open or honest, nor will I play your game with a full deck. Just hire me, then you'll find out.

Why: The interviewer wants a straight answer.

Tip: Mention one noncritical area you'd like to polish, then explain how you are working to improve a weakness. Another angle is to explain how it is negative and also positive. For example, "Once I start a project I throw myself into it and sometimes neglect personal obligations. I have to keep myself in check to avoid burnout."

3. No. I don't have any questions."

Employer interpretation: I could care less -- but not much less.

Why: Candidates who leave without underscoring their great interest in being hired are quickly forgotten. You don't want an awkward silence when asked if you have any questions. Speak up.

Tip: If you do your homework about the company you're interviewing with, you'll have lots of questions. This carries over into number 2.

2. "I don't know anything about the company."

Employer interpretation: I'd rather watch the worst of Late Night TV than research your company.

Why: If you're not interested in the company, why should the company be interested in you?

Tip: Before the interview, visit the employer's Web site to learn as much as you can about the company. When answering this question, focus on one or two flattering items to explain why you want to join this particular company, such as recent new business the company has landed or write-ups about the firm in trade publications.

1. "I hated my last boss."

Employer interpretation: I'll be a huge drain on company morale.

Why: A negative attitude regarding your current or past employers or colleagues will make your stock drop. No good can come from talking down your past employers. You run the risk of seeming like an employee that may be a "management problem."

Tip: Even if you did dislike your previous boss, trash talking isn't going to get you far in an interview with a new one. Instead, if you need to talk about why that situation didn't work for you, try to describe what type of management style you respond best to. Keep the answer positive, in terms of where you want to go, not what you want to get away from. For example, “I’m ready for a new challenge” or a similarly positive remark.


Yobama said...

These are excellent suggestions and guidelines! Going into an interview knowing some obscure tidbit about the company is a plus as well, it shows the interviewer you did your homework. "I love the fact that Genephouk contributes 1% of their profits to the Global Static Foundation!'...

Nice work!

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Unknown said...

The sad part is that these 5 tips you've given are common sense, yet no one seems to put them into action when interviewing. At least from my experience, because most people I know can't seem to find a job even though they get interviews.

Anonymous said...

These tips are such rubbish! Here's why:

Tip # 5: Ok, that's a good tip. Don't ask these questions before you've been made an offer.

Tip # 4: As if the company is completely honest with you. They won't tell you just how much unpaid overtime you'll be spending working in the office.

Tip # 3: Sometimes, there really aren't any questions to ask.

Tip # 2: It's a job, not an intimate relationship. Whether I'm qualified to do the job or not is what should matter. And yes, crappy as it is, late night tv is much more fun than looking up some corporation's history.

Tip # 1: Had the previous boss not been such an asshole, maybe there wouldn't be any animosity towards him/her.

Keep on sucking on the corporate teat. That is, until a recession when you'd be very kindly shown where the exit door is.