Job interviews are wonderful and terrible at the same time. They can do a real number on your confidence level as well as your equilibrium. Even worse—they can totally wreck the normal “brain to mouth” filter you have in order to avoid saying the worst possible thing at the exact wrong moment.
You’ve been there haven’t you? You know what I’m talking about. It’s those V-8 moments where you do your own mental head slap and ask “Why on earth would I say that in an interview?” Here are a few things you can do to avoid making major mistakes in the interview process.
1) Remember that it’s all part of the interview—even the small talk. Don’t make the mistake of revealing potential character flaws on the way to the water cooler or even over coffee while waiting for other interviewers to arrive. You don’t have to avoid small talk. It’s part of the process. But you should really work hard to avoid saying anything that may be viewed in a negative light by the person conducting the interview.
2) Avoid over-sharing. Everyone, at some point in your life, has encountered someone who gives too much information. Unfortunately, even the most disciplined people out there are subject to this affliction whenever nerves are high. Interviews are nerve wracking for even the most confident of people. Acknowledge the tendency to over-share at times like this and be hyper-vigilant to guard against it in your interview.
3) Don’t bring drama to the table. The bottom line is that people who love their jobs and feel well-compensated and appreciated for the jobs they do, are not generally looking for a new job. There’s conflict with your current job (or former job as the case may be). You need to find a way to explain your search for a new job without adding unnecessary dramatizations. Remember, the way you discuss your former employers in the interview is an indication to them of how you’ll discuss them when interviewing for the next job in the future.
4) Don’t reveal major character flaws coming out of the gate. This is a time when you’re supposed to put your best foot forward. While honesty is important, there’s no reason to volunteer that information unless it’s highly relevant to the job in question. Things like anger management problems, chronic lateness, and constant distractions outside of the office can be serious detrimental to your attempts to get the job in question.
The best rule of thumb you can follow during the interview process is a simple one: less is more. Give them enough details about yourself to reveal that you’re an excellent candidate for the job but try to avoid saying things that might give the interviewer cause for concern.
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