Your CV impressed the recruiter and you have a date set for your first interview. You’ve ironed your best suit and shined your shoes. You’ve printed a copy of your CV and you’re dressed and ready to go.
Before you leave home, you may want to take a few minutes and think about what you will say in the interview. When you think about what you would like to tell the interviewer, make sure you also review this list of things you don’t want to say in the interview.
No-No Number One: “I need some time off.”
Even if you have a good reason, like an upcoming surgery or a prepaid holiday, the first interview isn’t the time to raise a request for a day away. The potential employer may see you as a being needy or demanding.
So what’s the solution? Wait until you are negotiating a salary and a start date. Use those negotiations as an opportunity to bring up and arrange any necessary days off.
No-No Number Two: “My old boss was a jerk.”
Your old boss may have been a jerk. But that’s old news. Maligning him or her to the person who may be your new boss may make you look like a malcontent.
So what’s the solution? When you’re asked about your old job or your old boss, highlight the skills you gained and the contributions you made. Focus on the positive and avoid making disparaging remarks about the people you worked with or the company you worked for.
No-No Number Three: “If you recruit me I can share some inside information about my old company with you.”
While this may sound like an offer to help out a potential new employer, you are likely to get burned by making the offer. Recruiters want to know that you will be loyal to their firm. They won’t feel inclined to trust you if they learn that you’re willing to violate the trust of your prior employer. Even more important, your offer to turn over information about your prior company could be illegal. A potential new boss won’t look favourably on someone he or she perceives as being a rule breaker.
So what’s the solution? Don’t use an interview to share confidential information from your past employer with a potential new employer. Instead, focus on your accomplishments and highlight your qualifications. After all, those were the things that got you the interview to begin with.
Being prepared for an interview isn’t all about knowing what to say. It’s also about knowing what not to say. If you remember to avoid these three interview No-Nos, you are more likely to land the job.