In my career, I have had the pleasure of interviewing many people at different levels for all kinds of positions. Even those who climb to the highest rungs on the corporate ladder still need to be sure they are aware of the interviewing pitfalls and then avoid them at all costs.
Here are three interviewing boo-boos that applicants repeatedly make, whether they are intentional or not:
1. Do not bash your former managers
Even if your old boss resembled Attila the Hun or Shrek, you need to find their redeeming qualities. Jog your memory a bit. Way down deep in the depths of your mind, you can probably find something that you learned from him or her or accomplished with his or her help. If nothing else, you certainly learned how NOT to manage people so you can have good feelings about that. If, instead, you chose to speak negatively about your former boss, the interviewer will extrapolate and think about what you might say about them when you leave. This is not a career enhancing plan.
2. Do not bash your former employers
Finding something positive to say about a company that laid you off after 15 years without warning will be tricky. Nonetheless, you absolutely must find it. You must think about all the skills that you learned and all the ways that you grew your career during your tenure. In other words, think of all the things you are grateful for. This positive attitude will go a long way in an interview.
3. Do not act desperate
Every interviewer knows that the economy is rough for job seekers. At the same time, they want to hire people that have a strong interest in working at a job in their company and in their industry. When an interviewer asks a question and you respond with the words, “I have no problem with that”, that comes through loud and clear as, “I’ll do it if I have to”. Working should not be about desperation. It should be about passion. If you have “no problem” with many of the responsibilities of the job, it’s not your ideal job and thus, you probably will not receive an offer. Instead, search for jobs where you would answer questions with, “Yes, I would love to do that for you” or “Yes, I would bring tons of value to that task” or “Yes, I am the perfect person to fill that role for you”. But… you can’t just say the words… you have to mean them. If you don’t, we’ll know.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Interviewing well requires lots of practice. Just trying to “wing in” is not going to help you score the most points. You must play to win every time and you must celebrate the small wins along the way. Now that you understand some of the interviewing boo-boos, it’s time to apply an ouchless bandage to them so that they no longer stick.