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What Not to Say in an Interview

Shortlisted for an Interview? Now the Real Work Begins

Many people think the battle is won by landing the interview. Whilst it is certainly a major feat these days to beat out possibly 100s of other candidates to be shortlisted for interview, you are far from the finish line, and many an otherwise intelligent, articulate and confident applicant has been known to blow an interview by saying the wrong thing entirely at the wrong time.

The interview process, despite its seemingly informal nature, is meticulously planned to help the hirer sort the merely good candidate from the perfect fit for the company. Hiring managers use the interview to gauge your creativity, ability to think on your feet, emotional intelligence, and your attitude — so it is important to remember that it is not just what you say that counts, it is also how you say it. Your tone of voice and body language will be contributory factors as much as what you say and how you say it. These are all indicators as to your overall fitness for the job at hand.

What Not to Say in an Interview

The Great Unmentionable

Never discuss salary in the early stages of the interview process. Focusing on the remuneration package can raise a red flag with potential employers that you are only there for the money and not for any deeper reasons. Employers are looking for people who align with their mission and values. Negotiations can and should be done at the second (or even third) interview.

And when your interviewer brings up salary, there are still things you should avoid mentioning. Do not disclose your current salary unless specifically pressed – you could inadvertently oversell or undersell yourself if you are unaware of the package on the table. It will also severely harm your ability to negotiate.

Do Not be Desperate – Even if You Are

Let’s face it; most people do not look for work or leave a job unless they really have to. But never let this anxiety seep through in your interview. And definitely, do not say that you really need this job due to your current circumstances. Employers may view desperation as a sign of weakness, and, again, they want employees who are seeking a long-term career, not merely a job.

And likewise, never criticise a former boss or company. Even if the interviewer invites you to, do not; it is a trap to see if you will do so and you may as well leave right here and then – if you can bad-mouth your existing company, you could just as easily do it to them down the line, so beware.

What Not to Say in an Interview

It Is Not All About You

Do not make the conversation all about your needs. This is the time to talk about their needs and what you can do to help them. Waxing lyrical about you and your needs will be incredibly off-putting and mark you as an individual someone who is potentially going to be challenging to work with.

Some Simple Things to Not Do

Even if you are nervous, never admit to it. Try and avoid negative words or phrases like “can’t”, “won’t”, or “I’d rather not say”. Never ask about how much leave time you’re entitled to – you don’t want to give the impression that you intend to take all your sick days and miss as much work as possible while still getting paid! Leave that type of question until follow-up interviews or conversations with HR about benefits.

Finally, after reading about what not to say in an interview, how about what not to leave out? Make sure you have some questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. Asking questions is a sure way to demonstrate your interest in the company. Make a list of at least five pertinent questions. You may not need them, but some may have already been answered during the interview already. This will both illustrate your genuine interest in the company and help you sign off the interview on a positive note.

Interviews can be easy for some and tricky for others. We are, all different, and at Select Resumes, we realise this, and that is why we have an interview training package to offer those clients that need a little extra come the big day.

What Not to Say in an Interview

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