Interviews — can’t live with ’em, and can’t live without ’em. Or that’s how most job seekers feel about the hiring process. I mean, like it’s not enough you’ve been prepping your entire life for your dream job, now you have to prove how bad you want it- to a complete stranger? As Katniss Everdeen had to deal with, “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
As part of the recruitment world, I can bring you some perspective from the other side. Believe it or not, hiring managers and recruiters aren’t brainstorming all day about how to make the next prospective client’s life miserable. Matter of fact, most of us really want to help candidates be in a winning situation. I love prepping candidates to put their best foot forward.
Nor do they derive some twisted joy out of making candidates squirm. And even though the whole interview process may seem tiring and out-of-date — it’s there for a reason, people.
There are all kinds of people in this world — the trigger happy applicants, the lets-try-our-luck type applicants, and many more. Interviews are the corporate world’s version of thinning the herd. Sounds harsh, right? But, it’s also necessary sometimes.
You will not believe the kind of answers people churn up in an interview at times. I mean, a little faux-pas here and there is okay, but some things candidates should never ever do in a final interview, no less.
Don’t believe me? Well, buckle up your seat belts, folks, because I’m about to introduce you to a few prizewinning gaffes that I’ve had the personal pleasure to observe in real life. Remember, even the most unbelievable boo-boos mentioned here actually happened.
How Not To Ruin Every Chance You Have Of Landing A Job
I’m a pretty straightforward guy, and that’s why I’m not going to waste time on preliminaries. Before moving on, all I want to say is that making any of the following mistakes in an interview can drastically reduce the chances of you landing the said job. Think of this entire article as an exercise in caution.
1. Telling the interviewer you need to talk to your parents before accepting an offer
I know you’re thinking there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell any candidate actually told the interviewers they’d need to confer with the parents before taking on a job. I’m assuming you’ve heard of the truth being stranger than fiction (cue The X-Files theme). Yeah, this is one of those times.
I don’t think this type of behavior needs a page-long explanation on why it should be avoided at interviews at all costs. If there was ever a sure-fire way of letting the hiring manager know to keep on looking at other candidates — this is it.
Think about saying something like ‘I need to talk to my parents first’ to your friends. Then imagine the cackles and jokes that’d erupt straight away. The difference is your friends would forgive you for acting a bit strange, but an interviewer will only think of it in two ways: juvenile or weird. Both options are pretty unacceptable.
2. Talking about how much you want another job
Would you go on a date and proceed to talk about your ex throughout it all? Of course, you wouldn’t. Not unless you were deliberately trying to sabotage the evening (in which case, talking about your ex will work like a charm). Dane Cook is one of my favorite comedians/actors but that doesn’t mean you need to reenact his movies.
It’s not unheard of for candidates to walk into an interview and start talking about another job they’ve set their sights on. First off, that’s just plain unprofessional. Any manager will have a difficult time listening to whatever else you have to say.
Secondly, it’s kind of stupid. You know it’s only going to make the interviewer think how uninterested you are in the job they’re offering. Again, this is one of those mistakes that are pretty self-explanatory. This happens way too often.
3. Talking about the drama and baggage from your last job
Yes, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and yes, toxic work culture is a real thing — but that doesn’t mean you can talk about your baggage from the last job at your final interview of all places. Getting a new job is an opportunity for a fresh start, to leave all the negative behind.
But, if you carry your drama from your previous workplace to an interview for a new one- that spells out nothing but trouble. It can give off all sorts of wrong impressions. For one, people might think you’re too high-strung or unable to let things go. For another, you can present yourself as a person who can’t navigate the stormy waters of the corporate jungle.
It’s likely what you went through at your last job may have been nothing short of a nightmare. Nonetheless, it’s best to leave your past work experiences way, way behind when you’re walking into an interview room for a new opening.
4. Rescheduling your final interview more than twice
The phrase ‘life happens’ exists for a reason. Everyone understands when you have an emergency pop-up that makes you cancel your all-important appointments (including interviews). But, scheduling your interview more than once rings a little iffy. Plus, it presents you in an unreliable light, with the other side thinking, ‘who does this guy/gal think they are?’
If the unexpected does happen and you have to cancel an interview, take some time to review your schedule. Pick a date that’s least likely to result in disaster, and be on time for the interview. Tardiness followed by a rescheduling is not something you want to display for a final interview.
5. Lying about things you know
The internet is littered with funny memes and jokes about lying. But you want to know what’s not funny? Lying about your skills and accomplishments on a job interview only to have it backfire. Realize that you’re living in a world that’s just so damn connected through social media. Add to that the fact that all of us leave have an imprint thanks to our online status, and it takes just a few minutes to verify a whopper.
Apart from the embarrassment you may have to face if your lie is exposed, you’ll be leaving a very negative image behind in the minds of the hiring managers or recruiters. And, you don’t want to take the risk of your name becoming famous as the ‘happy fibbster’ in recruitment circles. Even if the recruiters forget, social media is never half as forgiving.
6. Turning up at the interview with a blank slate
Sometimes you’ll get hit with ‘what makes you think you’re a good fit for this position’ type questions in an interview. That’s why if you walk in that room without doing any research simply because you don’t want to be referred to as ‘unemployed any more — it can cause problems.
Interviewers are looking for candidates with the right qualifications. But sometimes, people can take a chance on you despite your lack of experience because your dedication and perseverance shine through. That’s because hiring managers want more than just the right skills; they also want a candidate who will be the perfect fit for the job in question.
That’s where doing your homework and researching about the company can help you big time. Being informed about the company’s culture, future plans, ethics, etc., can help you talk intelligently about why you’d be the right fit for the job. It’s also the perfect way to show your interest in helping the company improve and grow — which any interviewer will appreciate.
Did you have a hard time believing people pull off some of these glaring fumbles in an interview? If yes, congratulations, because your inner-Yoda has led you away from the Dark Side. However, if you have, at any point in time, made one (or more) of the mistakes mentioned here — don’t lose heart. Interviewing is a trial and error process in itself, which means you have the chance to reinvent yourself at every evaluation. Just make sure to avoid all the stuff listed here, and your chances of being hired may just increase exponentially.