An interview is that middle ground between handing out your resume and accepting a job offer, but so much hinges on everything going right. Even for job seekers who have had lots of practice and feel like they’ve nailed down the process, even they have slipped up once or two and said the unsayable. Have you ever been guilty of saying any of the following?
”Oops, sorry for being late!”
If you ever say this—and you’re not a hugely well-known name with a skill set belong to only a small handful of people in the world—you can kiss your job prospects goodbye. Your future employers want to know that you have respect and care for the job, and the interview is the first time you can show this. And if you can’t even make the interview on time, how will they know that you can be punctual to work every day?
”I quit my old job because my boss was an insufferable so-and-so”
The main reason for never saying this is because you never know who knows who, and your prospective employers could very well be second cousins to your past boss. Who do you think your interviewers are going to side with: you, the new face who just walked in the door 20 minutes ago, or your “insufferable boss”, with whom they’ve been enjoying happy hour for years?
Plus, the fact that you’re so ready and willing to speak poorly about your past coworkers plants a seed of doubt in your interviewers’ minds. If you’re so quick to gossip and share the bad stuff first, what will you say about your new coworkers and place of work?
”I have no weaknesses lol”
You and I both know the question of “what’s your greatest weakness” is a farce, but employers aren’t asking it to find out the one area of life you constantly feel you fall short in. Instead, they’re asking to get a sense of how how you tackle tough questions, that you have a deep understanding of yourself, that you’re humble enough to call yourself out, and what you do to “turn that frown upside down”.
One awesome way of spinning this is to show you’re working on bettering the situation, like saying, “I used to get really intent on one task—sometimes to the detriment of the bigger picture—but once I realized that, I started making to-do lists to ensure I didn’t miss anything. Once I did that, my productivity rose to a level that both I and my manager were really pleased with.”
Never curse during an interview. Ever. It shows a complete lack of professionalism, as well as an inability to rise above using language’s lowest common denominator and actually think for yourself. Look at this way: everyone knows the basic swear words, but not everyone can use Jane Austen or D.H. Lawrence’s language simply and in a way that doesn’t sound stuffy. Which one do you want to be remembered for?
It takes a bit of practice to implement these habits but once you do, you’ll find yourself rocking your interviews like never before. They’re the first and last chance you have of landing that perfect job, so make sure you pull out all the stops and do things right.