There’s plenty written about what you should do at interview (like I did last week) but surprisingly less written about what you shouldn’t.
Perhaps some people think the interview no-no’s are so incredibly obvious that they don’t need stating. In many cases, they’re correct. After all, hopefully you don’t need to be reminded to not punch your interviewer in the face and can avoid attempting to mix business and pleasure and not ask for a date and a job at the same time.
However, there are some things of which many applicants – both experienced and inexperienced – fall afoul.
In my keys to a good interview piece, I talked about the necessity of being you. Not doing this is a definite no-no. Own up to what you do and do not know.
When faced with a question or subject on which an applicant is uncertain, it is not uncommon for the person to suggest their knowledge on the matter is greater than it actually is. In some cases, desperate to look impressive, a candidate may claim expertise in an area in which they are anything but expert.
What may seem like a white lie at interview can lead to disaster further down the line.
That “little white lie about the summer you spent travelling in Germany can rapidly get out of hand when your boss insists on bringing you along for a meeting with his newest German client. When it becomes abundantly clear that you know nothing of the sites, geography, culture or language, you’re in for a rocky ride.
If you don’t know something, admit it. If it’s necessary, you can learn it.
If you lie, you will get caught out (and invariably at the worst possible moment!)
2/ Giving the interviewer what you think he wants to hear
One of the questions I was asked in my first-ever recruitment interview was whether or not I liked to drink.
Admitting that I had been known to enjoy several pints on a semi-regular basis seemed like the kind of thing that would make a prospective employer think the wrong thing about me so I answered “not really – only now and then”.
“Oh…” said the chap interviewing me, wearing an expression like I’d just shot his puppy.
I knew then that I had lost ground in this interview. Not because the manager wanted to hire a raging alcoholic but because it had become clear I was being a yes man and that was very much not what he wanted.
Always tell interviewers what you genuinely think rather than what you think will impress them. That way, they will be hiring you for you rather than a “best behaviour” act that you simply won’t be able to maintain 24/7.
3/ Dominating the room
Some of the worst interviews I’ve ever been involved in have come about because the applicant simply will not stop talking.
I’m sure they thought they were being very impressive by bombarding me with reason after reason as to why they would be an asset to my company, citing example after example of how they have made revolutionary changes to every single business in which they have ever worked.
In reality, they annoyed me.
Yes, I want to hear about how a candidate can help my business but I don’t want to hear it for a solid 20 minutes. An interview should be a dialogue and not a soliloquy.
The same principle goes for the candidate who walks into the interview room brimming with overconfidence and acting as if the office is his, trying to dictate the pace and content of the meeting. Newsflash – if this were the case, you’d be the one giving the interview! Show some humility and let the guy with the job be in control.
If you push too hard, you will push people away.
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