5 Things you must not say during a JOB INTERVIEW
If you’ve gotten that precious and rare job interview, congratulations! You are so close, and needless to say, you are going to blow the interviewer away. They will be left trembling after the presence of such awesome competence, and gnash their teeth when they think of the years that passed when they could’ve had you, then feel relieved that at least they have you now.
So to ensure that everyone is on the same page in regards to your excellence, think of it this way. This interview is simply asking, “Can you fill this hole, this need that we have?” and you replying, “Absolutely.”All of your responses during the interview need to convey that“absolutely.”
So here’s what not to say:
Don’t talk about how great this job will be for you, talk about how great you are for the job
Remember, this company or person isn’t interested in hiring you because they want you to be as self-actualized and joyful as possible— they’re thinking about hiring you because they have a need, and think maybe you can fill it. Your entire job is to convey to them that yes, you can indeed fill that need. Your needs are not important in this step of the process.
It’s understandable to forget this — especially if you’re fresh out of college. Up until now, your life has been about others teaching and instructing you in the hopes that it will help you meet your life goals. But have you noticed that you pay to go to college? Generally speaking in life, the person who gives money is the one who’s needs are important, and the person getting money is paid to meet those needs.
Don’t badmouth any past employers. Don’t badmouth any current employers. Don’t badmouth anyone.
This may seem like a fun, conspiratorial, “Oh, you wouldn’t believe,” sort of thing, but to a potential employer, all this establishes is that you are gossipy and potentially not a team player. It introduces doubt in their mind about you and your abilities — if you’re so great, how come this person didn’t like you? Remember how the only thing you are doing right now is conveying how capable and essential you are? This does not fit in with that.
No matter how terrible things were with a past job — and they may, indeed, have been really, really bad — it’s not valid interview conversation fodder. If you can say good things about the boss or company, then do so. If you just can’t bring yourself to say anything even slightly positive, just say, “You know, it wasn’t the best fit for me. Anyway, (more statements that convey your professionalism).”
Also, “It wasn’t the best fit for me” is the proper response to why you left your last job, unless it was something unassailable like, “I was recruited away by blah-blah-blah,” or “I wanted to move to be closer to my family,” assuming your family lives near the job you are currently interviewing for.
Don’t bring your deep and personally held beliefs into it
Unless the job and organization is explicitly about politics or faith, don’t mention them at all. Not only does this raise potential liability issues for the employer in terms of discrimination, it’s also distracting and you never, ever know who you will offend.
People do like to hear a little bit about who you are as a person, so if you have fun hobbies, by all means, mention those. But these things should be neutral and interesting.
Good: “Actually, I love crafting; I’ve been knitting and decoupage-ing a lot lately.”
Bad: “Whenever I find a spare moment, I love to go harangue the women going into abortion clinics.”
Don’t bring your boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, cat, step-cousin or ANYONE to the interview with you
I am sort of shocked this is a thing, but recruiter Dana assures me it is. If you need a ride to the interview, that’s fine, but this person must remain invisible to the employer. As far as the employer is concerned, you just emerged, Aphrodite-like, out of the seafoam and into the office park, the winds of your own competence wafting you safely to shore with five minutes to spare.
Don’t forget to ask questions
Frankly, you should have a million questions. This is a place that you will spend 40 or more hours per week. This is a place that will assign you hundreds and thousands of tasks to be successfully completed. This is a place filled with people that you will spend more time around than you do with your own family. Someone who isn’t interested in what this means for them is a major red flag. Asking questions doesn’t make you a pest, it shows you to be someone who is committed to making sure you are right for the job, and the job is right for you.
Here are some classic ones:
• What does an average day look like for someone in this job?
• What is the most challenging aspect of this job?
• In your opinion, what kind of person would be most successful in this position? (Note: take the answer to this into account, then hopefully tailor your future responses to demonstrate that you are that sort of person)
• What makes your company’s culture unique? What, in your opinion, distinguishes you from the others in your industry?
• Is there anything I should have asked you about this job that I haven’t asked you yet?
Kelly Williams Brown is a features reporter, humor columnist, amateur doodler and author of “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 387 Easy(ish) Steps.”