It is probably the worst fear of anyone in the process of being interviewed. What I am referring to is putting “your foot in your mouth”, or, in other words, saying something that you shouldn’t. Offering a comment you regret is sometimes a deal breaker, or at the very least, severely damaging to your candidacy. Therefore, the key is to not make the statement, or ask the question in the first place.
There are a number of reasons why a person may say something that they regret. A Job Seeker should be aware of some of the causes, in order to make a concerted effort to avoid placing themselves in that situation.
• Nerves – A Job Seeker may be so stressed over the interview, that they lose control of what he or she says during the discussion. A key to removing stress is to prepare yourself thoroughly prior to the interview. The article section of our job search tips on www.wnyjobs.com contains a number of Frequently Asked Interview Questions and how you can prepare for them.
• Comfort – If you can believe it, you may become too comfortable in the interview. A savvy Interviewer will try very hard to place you at ease during the discussion in hopes you will drop your guard. The key is to always remember that you are in an important interview, despite any small talk that may be occurring.
• Ego – An interview is a time to be confident, but not to be arrogant. Watch yourself regarding being overly boastful.
• Lack of Knowledge – A comment may be made by you due to not being aware of the damage it can cause. Reviewing this article along with also preparing for the interview with friends and family, will hopefully help alleviate this issue.
So, now that we are aware of why we might say something we regret, let’s examine some of the things you just shouldn’t say.
• Do I Need To Take a (fill in the blank) Test? – Whether it is a background, drug, or credit screen, you should not be the person who brings the issue up. The fact that you initiated the discussion will cause the Recruiter to begin to think that you may not “pass” any such exam. By all means, do not take it a step further and ask for details, such as “What do you drug test for?”
• My Boss Is a Real (fill in the blank) – The interview is not the time to let loose regarding your current/last supervisor. Stay positive during the interview. Don’t complain about the personality of your boss, or how he/she did not appreciate you. The Hiring Manager may just conclude that if you could not get along with your previous supervisor, you will not have a good relationship with him/her either. Likewise, the interview is also not the time to bring up your personality conflicts with your co-workers.
• How Much Does This Job Pay? – You do not want to be the one who initiates the money discussion. In due time, the Recruiter or Hiring Manager will provide you information regarding pay; for hourly positions, it is usually right before it is thrown to you for questions. You do not want to give the impression that money is all you are thinking about.
• I Got Fired – Don’t dwell on your previous employer by declaring that you were fired from them. This will immediately place you on the defensive by having to explain yourself. Instead, frame your departure in another way (personal issue, school, etc.) that will appear less damaging.
• I Have No Weaknesses – Asking about your weaknesses is a common interview question. Do not quickly throw it back to the Hiring Manager by declaring no weaknesses. Everyone has some opportunities (you can phrase it as that, instead of a weakness).
• What Does Your Company Do? – This basic information should already be known to you by your research, prior to the interview. An elementary question like this will be a signal that you did not expend much effort preparing for the interview.
• I Have No Questions – You should always have done some preparation prior to the interview and at least have a question. It may be about your training, your supervisor’s style, or another topic, but always have something important to ask. Failure to ask a question(s) will give the appearance you are not that interested.
Of course, there are a variety of other things you should not say, such as a profanity or an offensive comment (racial, gender, etc.). Similarly, limit your slang or street language to ensure your Interviewer understands what you are saying.
An interview is a crucial part of the job search process. Rarely can a candidate “flame out” in the interview and still receive the job offer. A key to making sure you give yourself a chance for the position, is to watch what you say in the interview. Make sure you don’t utter a “deal breaker”, and you may just find yourself with the job you wanted.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: