Information abounds regarding what you should say in an interview. But it can be just as important to realize what not to say. It is also imperative to note that what you say can be communicated through both your words and actions.
1. You arrive late to the interview.
What it means: "I really don’t care about getting this position."
Arrive a healthy 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to give you time to collect your thoughts, review your notes and make a good first impression.
2. You’re rude to the receptionist.
What it means: "I’m difficult to get along with."
"Receptionists are the gate keepers and it’s their job to be the eyes and ears of the company," cautions Lauren Milligan, founder and CEO of ResuMAYDAY, Inc. Besides, if hired, you may need their cooperation one day.
3. You answer questions with trite or cliché responses.
What it means: "I’m just one of the crowd."
Telling the interviewer you are a perfectionist and expect too much of yourself is sure to elicit a yawn, if not a discreet roll of the eyes, Milligan warns. Prepare potential responses ahead of time to avoid relying on the usuals.
4. You don’t ask questions.
What it means: "I’m not that interested in your company."
The interview should be a two-way conversation "to determine if you are the right fit for the company, and if the company is the right fit for you," Milligan says. Use the interview to gather as much information about your potential new position as possible.
5. You answer the standard "Tell us about yourself," with "What would you like to know?"
What it means: "I have nothing special to offer this company."
This is your opportunity to steer the conversation into areas where you truly shine. Don’t waste this chance by appearing to lack any outstanding qualities you want to share. And please don’t start with where you were born. Focus on your career unless your birthplace is relevant to the job.
6. You use inappropriate language.
What it means: "I’m unprofessional and if it shows in the short span of an interview, imagine what I’ll be like in the office."
Even if they’re only mild and somewhat acceptable words, there still is no place for them in the interview.
7. You trash-talk your former boss.
What it means: "I have no discretion; I’ll blab any inside information."
"If you left your prior job on poor terms, you need to put this relationship in a positive light for the interview," Milligan advises. "Even if your boss was to blame." You never want to bring negativity or antagonistic emotions into the interview. Keep it positive and upbeat.
8. You ask the interviewer to not contact your former employer.
What it means: "I have something to hide."
Even if you do not get along with your boss, you can always name someone else in the organization as a reference.
9. You exaggerate your accomplishments or credentials.
What it means: "I’m not good enough on my own merits, so I need to lie to make myself look good."
A skilled interviewer can easily identify fabrications in your background or experience. State your qualifications with confidence. You don’t have to be Superman to get hired; you just have to be right for the job.
10. You don’t thank the interviewer.
What it means: "I have no manners."
Forgetting to thank your interviewers in writing for their time can take the luster from even the most stellar interviewee.
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