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You Said What? Top 10 Things That You Should Never, Ever Say in an Interview September 3, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Handling Interviews.
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We’ve all been there – said the wrong things to the wrong people and ended up embarrassed and feeling awful.  If only life had a rewind button… then no one has to go through the humiliation that comes after a really bad interview faux pas.  Instead of agonizing over something you said that you can’t take back anyway, why don’t you learn about the top 10 things that should never come out of your mouth during an interview.


“What does your company do?”
Before going to an interview, find out everything you can about the company you’re applying for.  If you sent out your resume to a prospective employer, they simply assume that you know who they are and understand what they do. 

Ask around, read or go online for information.  Or you could do as I do – call up their friendly receptionist with some pretext and ask what the company does.  My favorite is pretending to be an insurance salesman who wants to send a proposal.  Then I ask what the company does, what its products are and how long it’s been operating.  Receptionists are usually eager to help you so they get you off the phone.

“Your boss and I are friends/relatives/acquaintances.”
Please do not insult your interviewer by telling him that you know the big boss on a personal basis.  By doing so, you’re implying that you have some sort of power or authority over the interviewer. 

You might also sound as if you’re trying to threaten him by nudging the interview in your favor.  This is lame.  Even if the big boss owes you his life, it’s beside the point.  You’re there to be hired based on your qualifications and not on your connections.

“My boss was a *@#$!”
Even if your boss was the devil incarnate himself, hold your tongue.  Instead of bad-mouthing him, try to shift the focus on why your former workplace was an excellent experience for you and what type of organization you feel you can truly excel in.

“How do I get promoted?”
Of course you want to get promoted.  Who doesn’t?  But asking about career advancements during an interview in this manner may be seen as too forward.  It’s not wrong, though because you truly have to know how you can progress.

To find out whether the job has potential or is a dead end, you can either:
– ask why there is a vacancy in that position.  If the interviewer says the person who used to hold the job had been promoted, that’s a good sign the job has a future.

– or –

– ask what the career options are for that position.

“I can’t work on this day of the week.”
During the first interview, these words are a big no-no.  Of course, your interviewer would probably understand that you have certain commitments but bringing this up too soon could be a point against you.

Try to bring this issue into the discussion later but make sure you have a truly good reason for needing to take the day off.  Otherwise, don’t even mention it.

“I see you also like Vuitton…”
Or Blahnik or Prada.  No matter the brand, don’t try to make small talk that is not about the job or the business.  Let your interviewer take the lead, especially if you’re a first-timer.  Allowing them to initiate is a common practice in the Philippines, so even if you sit there quiet at first, they won’t misinterpret it for shyness.  If you initiate talk too often, you’ll sound presumptuous.

“To quote J.Lo…”
Or Brad Pitt or worse, Jessica Simpson… To play safe, just don’t quote.  It sounds stiff, scripted and for some strange reason, preachy.  No matter how important the source is… Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey or Steven Spielberg… just don’t do it.

“You know what I truly hate?”
If you must rant and rave, do it in private or with friends or when the situation allows it.  Don’t do it during an interview, no matter how solid your argument is.  It makes you look like someone who complains a lot and that’s not a pretty picture.

“I have no questions.”
Wrong.  You should.  If you have no questions, the interviewer will wonder whether you lack a real interest in the company or are just too dumb to have anything to say.  Be prepared regarding this prior to an interview.  Having a few well-thought of questions is a sign of interest, smarts and proactiveness.

“Do you have time for coffee later?”
No matter how strong the attraction you feel for the interviewer, don’t ever say this during an interview, even if the feeling is mutual.  It’s tacky and it makes you sound cheap.  And yes, it does make it seem that you’re trying to do anything to get that job, even flirt with the interviewer.  Save the niceties later on, AFTER you’ve landed that job.

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