Finding a job in this economy is hard enough, let alone trying to figure out how to ace an interview. Interviewing is just like an (almost) blind date, but with no romantic first kiss at the end. Oh — and the interviewer isn’t paying for your meal. It’s usually a bit uncomfortable and awkward and there’s a lot of uncertainty. But, the good news is that it’s all worth it when you find that perfect job. How do you get this perfect job though? It’s easier said than done. You have to make sure that you prepare, prepare, prepare…I feel like I sound like a girl scout. It is the only way that you know you have done everything you can to make sure that you are the best candidate for the job.
First, check out my best interview prep tips here before you get started: Rise to the TOP of an Interview in 5 Steps!
You have to work at being a good interviewee. And practice really does make perfect. Study up on the job you are applying for, research all of the questions you think the hiring manager might ask you, and then practice like there’s no tomorrow — or no job tomorrow. Make sure you have followed my 5 easy steps to get you in the mindset of success. Prep your resume, prep your outfit, prep your plan to get to the interview on time, and most importantly, prep your “calm down nerves” technique before you go in! However, even with all the practice in the world, it’s hard to know the right things to say and the very, oh so bad, wrong things. Especially when you’re anxious, you can find yourself over-speaking and saying things you wish you could take back.
So, think before you speak and make sure to NEVER say these things if you’re looking to get hired. Trust me.
1. “Sorry I’m late.”
It should go without saying to never be late to an interview. Take it from a girl who is always a good 5 to 10 minutes late to everything — I still show up on-time or early if I want a job. Life happens. Maybe you couldn’t find your car keys, there was an accident on the freeway or you spilt coffee all over your shirt. Give yourself extra time just in case these time-suckers accidentally happen. There is no excuse to be late. You have to make sure you plan ahead outside of a natural catastrophy happening on your way. When you are late for an interview, it shows that you just don’t care enough…even if you do.
2. Negative Comments About Previous Job(s)
Just like a first date, you’re not going to go on and on about how horrible your exes are. Same goes for an interview. You shouldn’t bash your old boss if you want the person interviewing you to be your new boss. He or she is going to just think you’ll do the same to him or her. Saying negative comments about previous jobs you’ve had is only going to make you look like a bitter old man/woman. Even if you didn’t have the best experience at your previous work, you have to focus the attention on how you grew from that role/position/company. Don’t burn those bridges!
3. TMI (Too Much Information)
During a job interview, you will want to give a lot of information about yourself so the interviewer gets a good sense of you. However, don’t run with that. Giving TMI will certainly scare of the person you are speaking with. They don’t want to hear about that horrible breakup you just went through, or that one time you went to rehab. Save those stories for a night out with the ladies/fellas. Make sure that you plan out before the interview how you will answer “Tell me about yourself”—always the number one question!
4. Curse Words (Please Don’t…)
Listen, I’m a fan of using cursing here and there as much as the next person. But your interviewer may not be. If you’ve naturally got a potty-mouth, try to flush it before you head into your interview. Cursing is more appropriate out of the office. Professionalism is key…you will know after a while who is into cursing and who is not…it’s just not worth losing the trust or confidence of your potential new employer.
5. Politics/Religion (Pretty Please Don’t…)
You know you’ve heard the no politics and religion talk for a first date. Well, this also applies to a job interview. You have no idea where your interviewer stands on these topics, so DON’T EVEN GO THERE. If you don’t have anything nice to say (about politics or religion), then don’t say anything at all. It is just not appropriate in the interview or in the workplace. Your only exception is if you are interviewing for a political party…most likely you are not.
6. Statements That Appear Desperate
Even if you want this job so very badly, and you’ll do anything in the world to get it — you don’t want to come across as desperate. By making certain comments like, “I’ve been searching for a job forever and I need to get this one” or, “I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t get this job,” you don’t appear confident anymore. The less said, the more confident you’ll appear. You want to sound like you’re eager for the position, but not eager enough you’ll sell your soul for it. Show your worth by sharing examples of your experience and how this position is the right fit for you and the company.
7. “No, I don’t have any questions.”
When that time come around and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” the worst thing you can do is say, “No.” Come with a prepared list of a couple questions. This will make you seem interested in the position and the company, as well as it will show initiative. Silence here is the deadliest offender and when you do ask a question, make it about the position and company, not the benefits (see below!)
8. Too Many Questions About Salary
I get it; you want to make those dollar dollar bills. And, you don’t want to be wasting your time. However, money is an uncomfortable topic and a fine line to walk. You need to be straightforward about what you’re looking for, but at the same time, not looking too focused on the salary instead of the position. Make sure you discuss what they are offering, but don’t go on and on about the salary. You can always call HR and find out the range that the position is in…don’t make this the lasting or focal point of your interview. It will kill the vibe.
Like what you see? Check out some more of my top work life posts that may have an impact on how what you do:
- Being a Working Mom Benefits the Whole Family
- How To Stay Sane As A Working Mom
- How to Be Series: No.2: How To Be A Better Coworker This Week!
- 5 obstacles that are holding you back from pursuing your dream career
- 5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Friendship Into Your Busy Week
Let me know what you think in the comments!
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