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15 things You Should Never DO or Say at an Interview

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Ann Martin

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of 15 things You Should Never DO or Say at an Interview

Interview Questions
15 Things You Should Never SAY
Top 10 Interview Questions of All Time

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. What are your strengths?
3. What are your weaknesses?
4. What was your greatest accomplishment?
5. What do you know about our company?
6. What did you like least about your prior job? or If you could change anything about your current/past company,
what would that be?
7. Why did you leave your last job? or Why do you want to leave your current job? or How did you lose your last
job? Learn how to navigate around thorny problems and issues without sounding negative or fumbling for words.
8. Where do you see yourself 3-5 years from now? Setting your sights too high could actually eliminate you as a
serious candidate.
9. Will you relocate? The job posting said, no relocation required...so why are they asking you this question?
10. Why should I hire you?

Typical Behavioral Questions
1. What was the biggest mistake you ever made and what
did you learn from it?
2. Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone
who was difficult to get along with or you didn't like.
3. Tell me about a time when a co-worker was not
shouldering their fair share of the work load.
4. Sometimes we're faced with dishonesty in the workplace.
Tell me about such a time and how you handled it.
5. What qualities do you look for in a boss?
6. What is the title of the last book you read?
7. What do you do to improve yourself?
8. What are some of your hobbies or personal interests
outside of work?
9. Why did you choose your major in college?
10. What motivates you?

1. Don’t talk about thing you can’t back up
2. Don’t talk about bad bosses and companies, personal problems or negative things in general
1. Don’t act clueless and unprepared
8. Don’t fixate on what you lack
Have a willingness to approach things in a new and different way. Learn what you need to know to be up-to-date in your skills.
“Help them get over it” formula
Step 1: Expect employers to have issues
Step 2: Calm the air
Step 3: Offer evidence to the contrary
Step 4: Turn the conversation back to
what else you have to offer

9. Don’t crank out letters like an assembly line
10. Don’t act desperate
12. Don’t be uptight and don’t
try to be perfect
15. Don’t ruin your rep on
social media.
Have specific knowledge about
(1) The company
(2) The job
(3) Yourself

Operating Principles

1. Think like your audience

2. Master your content
Know yourself, your strengths, and your stories, why you left your previous jobs, your reaction to difficult questions

3. Getting a job is not the objective of the interview
Your objective is to explore whether the company and the job are right for you and you are right for the company while presenting yourself in the best possible light.

3. Don’t talk about money, perks or other “What will you do for me?” items.
4. Don’t share too much personal information.

5. Don’t talk about irrelevant or dumb things that just pop into your head.

6. Don’t say cutesy stuff or use unprofessional and irrelevant information in letters and resumes.
7. Don’t say I have good people skills
9. Don’t say
“I won’t do that”
12. Don’t use
non-words, fillers and other annoying things.

Misspelled, mispronounces or incorrect derivations of real words
(like irregardless, and orientated, and coversate)

Explain what that means
As in work late due to other commitments, perform duties outside of the stated job description, or travel.
11. Don’t say anything that’s gobbledygook
ROWE, random walk, gift proposal

“A person-centered change agent who drives results through actionable learning frameworks.”

Don’t immediately focus on your limitations or expectations, or concerns about potential overtime. You will appear inflexible and unwilling to do what it takes to be successful
13. Don’t use buzzwords
14. Don’t say Goo Moring

In a SHRM survey of 500 hiring managers
said typos and grammatical errors in a cover letter or resume were a
deal breaker/major problem

15. Don’t say you know me
(when you don’t)
or tell other lies.
“problem-solver” results-oriented” “change-agent” results-driven” “think outside the box” Their overuse makes them meaningless.
Instead describe your behavior in plain language

= “I’m willing to put thought and study into figuring out a solution to a given problem”
15 Things You Should Never Do

(Have your stories ready)
Taken from:
This is How to Get Your Next Job

Andrea Kay
Presented by Ann Martin
Career Advisor, University of Maryland University College

14. Don’t ignore or
fabricate references
2. Don’t get defensive
Expect that there might be tough questions and be ready to address them
7. Don’t act blasé, unresponsive, and disinterested.
Ask thoughtful, appropriate questions.
Mention news items or trends that
affect the company or industry.
Respond promptly and follow-up.

Question you can ask
What are the key responsibilities of the job?
What types of problems does this role address?
What are the expectations of the position?
What does it take to be success?
Why is this position open?
What is a typical day or week like?
How does this position contribute to the company, goals, innovation, productivity, or profits?

5. Don’t act old
Don’t be stuck in the past.

11. Don’t think it’s over when the interview ends
Send a sincere, personalized error-free thank you letter within 24 hours; remind them how you can be of value to their organization.
13. Don’t be too casual
3. Don't Ever, Ever Be Late!
6. Don’t be humble
4. Don’t worry
Become comfortable talking about yourself and present yourself with confidence. Take credit for your accomplishments.
Don't act like a
10. Don't say
"I just want to learn"
Provide a compelling reason the employer should invest his/her time, money and talent into training you.
8. Don’t say
"That’s not an issue”
15 Things You Should Never DO or SAY at an Interview
Full transcript