You have spent hours, maybe days creating this awesome resume in hopes of landing an interview. You finally receive the call that you are chosen to interview with that company. What happens next?
I have been conducting interviews for just a short while. It amazes me what questions candidates ask and also what responses they give to questions I ask. Here are some tips on what questions not to ask or statements not to make to help reduce the chance of your interviewer asking themselves, “Did they just say that?”
I’m really nervous. Can you tell I’m freaking out??? Granted you may be nervous or uneasy before and at the beginning of the interview, but you do not want your interviewer to know this. You want to start off showing that you have self-confidence and that you are professional. Besides, you will not receive any “brownie points” blaming your nerves for any failures in your performance.
I don’t really know much about the job; I thought you’d tell me all about it OR What does your company make (or do)? So, what do you do? Do your homework. Being prepared for the interview is most important and will impress your interviewer. Your interviewer probably has a million and one things on their plate and to hear you state that you are unprepared could cost you the position. Why should they hire you if you did not even take the time to research their company? There is nothing wrong with asking clarifying questions about the specific position that you applied for, but preparation is key!
My last boss/colleague/client was a real jerk. I hate my boss, co-workers, and my client! Please resist the urge to badmouth anyone you have worked with in the past. Sure you may have had a previous or current supervisor, co-worker, or maybe even client that wasn’t the most pleasant; however, it is extremely unprofessional to talk negative about them. Your interviewer will be concerned about what you would say about them, your new supervisor, or company later down the road. Spin your negative experience to describe past work environments in terms of what you learned or accomplishments you’re proud to discuss.
My biggest weakness is (something directly related to the job). Umm, none? “What’s your weakness?” is one of the most dreaded interview questions. There’s no perfect reply, but there is a reply you should never say: never admit to a weakness that will affect your ability to get the job done. Choose a weakness not related to the position and explain how you’re working to improve it. Also, spin your weakness into a positive! This shows that you can admit that you are not perfect but you learn from your mistakes.
@#$%! What the ___?! Granted, profanity seems to be much more accepted in many workplaces today. However, an interview is not the time to demonstrate that you can talk like a pirate. Even if your interviewer slips one or two inappropriate words out, do not join in.
Just a minute; I really need to take this call. I’m in an interview, can I call you back? Making a potential employer wait while you finish a personal phone conversation is rude! Please do not answer your phone or respond to text messages during an interview. Turn off your phone – do not put it on vibrate – during interviews and you will not be tempted to reach to answer it. I even suggest you keep your phone put away while you wait to be interviewed. Better yet, leave your phone in your car!
How much vacation time would I get? What can you do for me; what are the benefits like vacations, promotions, and bonuses? Show me the perks! Asking a potential employer about the benefits package makes you sound like you could care less about the job and more about the perks. The first interview you have with a company is all about what you can do for THEM. You are not doing them a favor by interviewing with them, so keep these questions until the second interview or until the interviewer opens up the subject.
Do not use SLANG words or phrases in your job interview. Yo, yo, yo! The interview is not a casual conversation with friends on a street corner or in a lounge. The interview is a formal conversation and requires the use of proper English grammar. You will also sound like you are not serious about doing good work, and the interviewer won’t take you seriously. Just don’t do it!
If you are asked if you have any questions, don’t say “No.” No, I have no questions for you! Saying NO says to the interviewer that you are not very interested in the company. When you research the company before your interview, come up with at least three questions to ask about the company itself or about their expectations of you. And remember, this is not the time to ask about salary and benefits, either.
It is best not to let your interviewer question if they are on the show Candid Camera. Remember the interview is the opportunity you have to sell yourself, but you do not want to get ahead of yourself and come across as unprofessional. You know you are great, and this is the time to show your interviewer that you are great, too! You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The last thing you want is to walk out of your interview and have your interviewer say or think, “They did not just say that.”
Kim Sanders is a senior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha majoring in Business Management, specializing in Human Resource Management. She has been a part of the C&A Industries internship program working in the Celebrity Staff division since February 2014. During the internship program, she had the opportunity to conduct the new hire phone, computer, and email training class for the training department. Kim loves working with people and being a team player. She is very excited to be joining the Aureus Medical division after completing the internship program as a Team Assistant. When she is not working or doing homework, she loves spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, and doing work at her church.