Let’s face it, the job market is a cruel, relentless and unforgiving place.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it does feel like a battlefield out there, doesn’t it?
Getting shortlisted for an interview seems like a daunting task nowadays and when the phone finally rings, you don’t want to mess it up by saying or doing something you will regret. Trust me – nothing worse than the feeling of regret, hoping you had the power to turn back time.
We were all young before, and no one discussed this back in school so there came a point in time where I haphazardly went on with my job application, totally clueless of what I was doing.
There I was, excitedly waiting for my interview, all dressed up – ready to charge head-on, focused and determined. Unfortunately, I said the worst and needless to say, I lost my chance and didn’t get the job. Some thoughts are best to keep to yourself – especially when your future job is on the line.
Lucky for you! If you are reading this or taking advice from professionals who are expert in this field – job search coaches, hiring managers, and recruiters – heed our advice, and don’t be like me who blew so many opportunities just because I said the wrong thing.
Before I list down my tips, let’s establish that an interview isn’t only where you should be cautious. Emails, phone calls and even text messages can be a source of embarrassment.
Ok, without further ado, here are my top 5 worst things to say during an interview.
It’s not a bad thing to aspire to be a business owner someday, but an interview just might not be the right time to bring this up.
This might be the most damaging thing to say as a candidate, as it gives out the impression that you view the position as a stepping stone or a springboard to your future venture. During your interview, employers check your interests of why you’d like to join their company. If business aspirations are brought up, employers might think that you’d probably not stay around, or you are not motivated enough to work.
This might be specifically meant for me, but the idea applies to everyone.
Just a tiny backstory, having both experiences in HR and Recruitment, during an interview I always tell people that I am open to both. Unknowingly this is hurting my chances of landing a job and here is why - HR is different from recruitment, it’s like saying that marketing is different to sales.
Though they may be categorised in the same field, the roles are different. The expertise needed to function as a subject matter expert in HR is different from a recruitment specialist. And so, in my example, when you don’t have a focus on what job you are after this might give the employers the impression that you don’t know what you are applying for very well. This also gives away that you haven’t done your industry research and how each sector operates.
Before I became a recruiter, I said this a lot, and it was just because I was just too lazy to think of a different way to open my sentences.
Don’t do this.
Now that I’ve been involved in the recruitment process, every time I hear this from a candidate, I can’t help but think that the candidate is saying that I haven't read their CV.
In fact, for most of the questions we throw out in the interview, most of them are answerable by your CV, but we ask questions because we want to hear it from you and how well you understood your role fits with the application. There also might be cases where we need you to elaborate further on what is written in your CV.
This depends on the context of how the topic was brought up and how the candidate delivers this message, but generally speaking, job seekers often think that by voluntarily giving this information, they feel that it’s leverage to encourage the employer to move faster or offer you the job right away.
Only employers who are not confident in their ability to find another candidate might fall for these, but by a long shot. If you have been offered a role, you shouldn’t be attending an interview without telling your employer in the first place. The best way to tell them is before an interview.
If an offer was made on the same day as your interview, or during your interview... explain to your interviewer the situation and make it clear that you are telling them about the offer as a gesture of courtesy. Make it clear that you are in no way using this information to negotiate.
This can be very tricky to pull off, so if you are unsure please consult with a professional job search coach.
Finally, the top one on my list and the most hated thing that a recruiter wants to hear from a candidate. (Sadly, I said this a few times in the past... but let’s learn from my mistake)
Why is this bad? One of the biggest mistakes an interviewee can make is going into a job interview with no clue as to why they want to work for the company.
Employers are drawn to candidates who can show how their values and goals align with their own. Employers don’t want to hire someone who is just looking to make a quick buck. You want to be motivated and energized to take on a role and this answer just doesn’t demonstrate it.
There would be a lot more of these but I’ve just thought to compile the top 5. The key secret to a successful interview is preparation.
The more you prepare and research about the job search process the more you build the knowledge of what you need to do, and need to not do, in an interview.
If you find this confusing, asking someone to review your answers or seeking professionals to help you with your job search will be a worthwhile strategy. Job Search coaches are professionally trained to spot errors that you most likely not see for yourself.
I hope this helps and all the best in your job applications.
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