Written by DEBBIE DURAN, MBA
The economic downturn has severely put more job seekers on edge and job seekers have come to realize that it is becoming tougher to SCORE an interview these days. Because of this finding, it is quite understandable when a person goes for an interview and they are on pins and needles and exhibit behaviors that result in unintended consequences. Even before the economic downturn, there was always a thin line (even thinner now, due to high competition for available jobs) during the interview process. Candidates can try to show that they are interested and SPEAK TOO MUCH OR OUT OF TURN or they can demonstrate that they are very confident and come off as being too COCKY or a candidate can appear to be PASSIVE, BORING, or UNINTERESTED in the job. None of the qualities mentioned above is attractive in the interview process.
There is something that I thought of a few years ago that I use with most of my individual clients. It is called a WORK- LIFE SCRIPT. A WORK- LIFE SCRIPT is a person’s work life bio, which include things like: tell me about yourself, all the jobs you have done, what were your functions, what would your supervisor say about you (negative and positive), what do you consider your strengths and weaknesses, and how do you see yourself in five (5) years. After the Script has been developed, I then teach clients how to use it to ace their interviews. Make no mistake, the more interviews you attend using the contents of your Script, the better you become because repetition can only sharpen your skills.
Although I mentioned only 10 things that should not be said in an interview, as a former recruiter, I have seen far more and heard more things that would have this list going on to about ten pages. Example, I called a young lady in for an interview once, and she was not at home. I left her a message to return my call. Instead of returning my call, she turned up at my office the very same day in a two piece swim suit and a towel wrapped around her waist, explaining that she did not want to miss the job opportunity and she was coming from the pool.
AVOID ASKING YOUR INTERVIEWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS OR DO THE FOLLOWING THINGS:
1. So what is this company about?
If I were interviewing someone who asked me this question, my first thought would be that the person is not proactive and did not take the initiative to research the company. How can you be an effective employee if you are willing to run to an interview with a company for whom you have no idea of what they do?
It is quiet understandable that you sent out a million resumes and a million and one applications and you have no idea of what some of the companies do. What is not understandable or ok is, you didn’t take the time after you were given an appointment, to research the company on the internet. This only takes a few minutes to do, and you can wow the interviewer on your knowledge of the company. Sharing the information is not mandatory, that is simply a personal choice and comfort level
2. What is the pay/salary/wages for this position?
This is something that we all truly have to fight hard not to do. Why? Because human nature and our curiosity wants to know if this money will satisfy our need or is the interview worth the time.
This question will cause the interviewer to think that the only reason you are there, is for the money. Yes, that may be very true, but that is not the perception you want to leave .The truth is, if you are not a selected candidate, the salary is irrelevant. On the contrary, there are some interviewers who will tell the salary from the start, or some advertised jobs will have this information posted prior to your interview. Always try to research the job and salary on places like salarywizard.com to familiarize yourself with the market price for your job, in the event you are asked “What kind of salary are you looking for”? (I normally discuss this answer in WORK-LIFE SCRIPT)
3. Never go former boss bashing.
I understand your former boss may have been the boss from hell, but never, never, under any circumstances, mention negative things about your current or former boss. We all know that some bosses are truly the devil in a blue dress or wears Prada, but you still want to be positive (if asked) about the former boss.
Do not go into details about the ex-boss, you can say something like “We had differences of opinion or different approaches to do things” Try to say as little as possible and do not open yourself up for further questions. This is one time where less information is best.
4. Never use the street style handshakes
No matter how “cool” you perceive the interviewer to be, never use a street hand shake. Always use the standard handshake and look the interviewer in the eye. Also, never ask the interview where they are from, as this is also inappropriate.
5. Using foul language
Whether it is a slip of the tongue or that is how you commonly speak, an interview is not a place for this things like “I was so p##ed off man” or “That is some bulls###t”. Other colorful words like “My Nigga”, Nigga, My Dog, them hoes, Shit!, Bitches, Naw Mean, You know whad I’m saying? All the words listed are totally inappropriate in an interview scene.
6. When asked the “How you see yourself in five (5) years? “ question comes:
Please do not tell the interviewer that you want their job. (My WORK-LIFE SCRIPT will help you formulate the best answer).
7. Do not ask which day is normally pay day
This is an inappropriate question as well as irrelevant. Knowing payday is only important after you have been given an offer and started the job.
8. Do not discuss your family, marital status or what your significant other does
Some candidates love to especially dish out this information when they get the infamous question “Tell me about yourself”. (My WORK-LIFE SCRIPT will tell you how to effectively answer this question).
By law, companies cannot ask a candidate these questions, therefore, interviewers get very uncomfortable when candidates start talking about their age, marriage, divorce, and break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend or how many children they have. Please leave personal details out of the interview, no one cares.
9. No homophobic or religious questions or remarks.
It is ok if you are homophobic, but do not dare ask the interviewer if gays work there, or say anything that would remotely give the interviewer the idea that you hate gays. Also, keep religion, religious views, or ideas out of the interview.
10. When can I start?
Just because an interview was fantastic and the interviewer was cordial and maybe funny, it does not mean you got the job. Never ask when you can start. What you can ask is “How soon can I expect to hear from you either way?”
After a terrific or not-so-terrific interview, ask the interviewer for their email (if you didn’t have it prior to the interview) then send them a thank you note within 24 hours. Do not call and pester the interviewer after you have sent the thank you note.
Contact: Debbie Duran