The Wrong Things To Say At Interviews

Foot in mouthOften unsuccessful candidates ask me to review their job interviews and help them find out what they could have done better. Here are some of the commonalities from my post interview debriefs:

1. Becoming defensive when faced with negative questions
You know what, we are imperfect beings, we make mistakes and we have disagreements, so we perform poorly at times.  The interview team already knows that.  So they are not tyring ‘trick you’ to say something bad about yourself, they are just assessing how you act/behave in negative or difficult situations.

2. Avoiding or passing on questions
This behavior shows you are unprepared, don’t understand the question or have something to hide.  So don’t do this… instead if a situation simply hasn’t occurred during your career, just say so!  And try to offer an example that is as close as possible to to the request.  Something is better than nothing.

3. Arguing with the interview panel
Is it important for you to be right, or is it important to get the job offer?  Probably the latter! A job interview is not the time and place for your agenda; it is a discussion whereby you and the employer find commonalities and joint benefits.  The recruitment team is in charge, so arguing with them will usurp their power and not get you to your objective.  Save the disagreement until you do have some power to persuade, that is, until you have the job.

4. Using critical and judgmental language
I like to say that using this type of language is a window into the soul of your own intolerances.  You think you are commenting on other people, but in fact all you are doing is highlighting a negative side of your own character and displaying a lack of effective communication skills.  Try sticking to the facts; they will do all the work for you.

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5. Being blatantly honest or too literal
Go into an interview with a strategy; tell them the facts that will gain you the role.  If you are too literal or blatantly honest in your responses, you could talk about things that are not benefiting you.  So why open yourself up to mistakes like this? Don’t lie, but be smart about what information you share.   An employer will only know what you strategically decide to tell them.  The employer will also be selective in what they choose to tell you, so there is nothing wrong with both parties using the same strategy.

If you recently failed a job interview and want to find to find out what you could have done better, don’t hesitate to Pinstripe Solutions.

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