There may be no other time when you’re being so blatantly judged as when you’re on a job interview. Your resume was strong enough to get you time on a hiring manager’s calendar, so the words you say — and to some extent, the personality you portray, which might include what you’re wearing — may be the difference between a job offer, or a “we have determined that you are not an ideal fit” rejection letter.
To make things even more complicated, the way people speak to each other during a job interview can feel a little…awkward. When was the last time someone in normal conversation asked you, “What is your biggest weakness?” You might even get served a brainteaser, like “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” (via Lifehacker). But, if you’re job searching, you can expect to be asked the unexpected. So how do you make sure you answer questions the right way? There are definitely verbal landmines you need to avoid.
Fairygodboss’ Director of People & Culture Dan Sprock said that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to bad-mouth a previous employer. “Toxic workplace experiences aren’t uncommon, but talking poorly of a former employer can reflect badly on an interviewee,” he told The List. “Even if the experiences and information is true, it can often come across as petty or immature so try to avoid saying anything negative during the interview.”
Seeming unprepared for job interviews is the biggest turn-off to hiring managers
You’ll raise an eyebrow or two if you rant about how your last boss was a tyrannical micromanager, but it’s possible you’ll have an understanding interviewer who will chalk off this tirade to work PTSD. What will blow the opportunity for you, though, is to demonstrate that you have done absolutely zero research about the company you’re interviewing at, Sprock said. Saying, “What does your company do?” during the interview translates into, “I was so lazy and disinterested in this job that I didn’t even give you guys a Google.” According to Sprock, “if you ask this question, you’re just showing that you haven’t done your research and don’t care about the job.”
Greg Moran, director of industry sales and partnerships for Talent Technology Corp., agreed. “With today’s technology, there is no excuse for having no knowledge of a company except laziness and/or poor planning–neither of which are attributes [of potential employees] sought by many organizations,” he told CNN.
In that same vein, at the end of the interview, saying, “I don’t have any questions,” is a really bad move, Sprock warned. “This shows that you either weren’t listening well enough to come up with a question or simply don’t care about this position or the company,” he said. “You should come with pre-prepared questions, but make sure you’re listening intently so you can ask informed questions during the interview.”
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