10 Things Not to Say in a Job Interview

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10 things not to say in a job interviewWith the jobs market more competitive than ever it can be hard work just to get an interview, so once you're actually in front of potential employers you don't want to ruin your prospects with an ill-chosen comment.

Sadly, some job hunters still do speak before they think. Corinne Mills, managing director ofPersonal Career Management, says she can recall many instances of interviewees saying the wrong thing. "I remember when one man was asked why he wanted the job, he replied, 'Because my mum thought it was a good idea'," she says.

She adds that some job hunters have also been known to say they've applied for a job "because it will pay the rent while I look for a job I really want to do", and a common response to a question about what candidates like to do in their spare time is "go to the pub".

Richard Nott, website director atCWJobs.co.uk, says candidates should avoid discussing religion and politics. "Employers like people who can talk passionately about their own interests as it helps them to get to know you as a person. But we would always advise against sharing your views on these two topics without knowing if the interviewer shares that point of view."

We asked Nott, Mills and Nik Pratap ofHays Senior Financefor their list of the top things to avoid saying at a job interview:

1"Sorry I'm late." It goes without saying that punctuality is key. Your interviewer doesn't want you to arrive for work 20 minutes late every morning.

2"What's your annual leave and sickness policy?" It doesn't look good if, before you've even been hired, you're planning your absence from the company.

3"I'll just take this call." Mills says a large number of candidates think it is OK to take telephone calls, texts etc during an interview. It isn't.

4When asked, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" never say, "Doing your job." As much as this might be a genuine answer, Nott says candidates should "try to build a response around the experience they would like to have gained and the level of responsibility they'd like to have, rather than threatening the interviewer's job."

5"My previous employer sucked." No matter how mind-numbingly boring those roles might have been, "speaking badly of a previous employer is not only unprofessional, but also reflects on your character," Pratap says. Your new employer will contact your former employer for references following an interview, so it's never wise to burn your bridges.

6"You make widgets? I thought you made cricket bats." Failing to research your prospective employer fully is a big faux pas. "Saying you've looked at their website is only marginally better employers expect far more research," Mills explains.

7"Bloody hell." Never swear in your interview. It can happen, especially if your interviewer is themselves prolific with the profanities, but don't let them set the standard of the interview and remain professional at all times.

8"I was very good at sorting out PEBs by using ARCs." Don't fall into the industry jargon of your previous employer or assume the interviewer knows anything about your experience, Pratap advises. Instead, speak clearly about your skills and experience to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

9"Do I really have to wear that uniform?" Any criticism of staff uniform will go down like a lead balloon. Do you think your interviewer enjoyed wearing that fluorescent green ensemble when they performed your role?

10When asked, "What do you expect to enjoy most about this role?" never reply with any of the following: the perks, the pay, lunchtimes, my co-workers or the holidays, Nott says.

frequently Asked Interview Questions Relating to Skills1. What experience do you have in the industry?2. What job and activities have you done that make you suitable for this position?3. What qualifications / competencies do you have for this job?4. What were your responsibilities at your last position?5. What are your major accomplishments or achievements in your last position?6. Have you had any other kind of training that would make you suitable for this position?7. Why should we hire you?8. Why do you want the job?9. What makes you different from the other candidates?10. What skills do you think are most critical for this job? And how do your skills relate to this?

How to avoid the biggest interview mistakesCan you do the job? Do you want the job? Will you fit in? These are the three most important questions for an interviewer. Avoid the mistakes that will make your answers to them sound like a "no".

Not showing an understanding of the job

Prepare for the interview by finding out all you can about the role, company and industry. Read about the company's history, milestones, values, products / services and customers; and research the wider challenges and opportunities in the sector. Scour industry blogs, trade publications, the company website or LinkedIn page; set up Google alerts for news and use Twitter to find information.

Ask intelligent questions at the interview to clarify your responsibilities and to show that you're someone who wants to make an impact. Ask about short and long-term priorities and how the role affects the organisation as a whole.

Not saying how you did something

Rather than just saying you possess particular experience or a skill, prove it. Practise your story-telling techniques to show how you achieved a result or used your skills.

Find specific examples from your background to match the job specification. These examples should already be highlighted in your CV, so expand on them during the interview. Preparing your examples beforehand means you're less likely to get stuck for an answer or appear tongue-tied.

Make sure your examples are relevant. In Businessweek, the author describes a candidate who ruled herself out of a marketing job:

"I asked her to think about our five-person agency and what we need in marketing. She told me a story about a 24-month intranet project involving 60 people and six or seven levels of organisational sign-offs. She needs a big company atmosphere - her story screamed "I don't understand scrappy not-for-profits at all."

Not knowing why you want the job

Lack of enthusiasm is almost guaranteed to lose you the opportunity. You must be able to say why the role and company appeal. Use the "Tell me about yourself" question to show how your background fits. Be prepared for questions about your future plans and think about how you can answer honestly and thoughtfully without sounding bland, vague, or over-ambitious.

In Graduate jobs: Advice from the experts, one poster gave an example of how genuine enthusiasm trumps anything else. "One girl got into a tizz and made a right mess of her presentation, but managed to convince us how much she wanted to work for us, and how much she could do for us. We've been very pleased with her."

Negative body language will counteract anything you say. Exude confidence in how you walk, sit or answer questions. Role-playing your interview helps and not just for answering those difficult, "skeleton-in-the-cupboard" questions.

Coming across as unprofessional

Nobody wants to work with a complainer or a back-stabber. Never criticise a previous manager, colleague or employer. Aim to give the impression of a capable, team-playing professional who would fit in and not be difficult to manage.

Not following up

A post-interview thank you note is an excellent way to reiterate your strongest selling points, and the reason why you want the job.

If you haven't heard by the time you expected (get an idea of their timeframe during the interview) following up shows your commitment and ability to stay on top of things.Simple Interview Question List1. Tell me about yourself?2. What are the most difficult challenges that you have faced?3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?4. When did you show leadership and persuade others?5. What are your best ideas and how did you get them implemented?6. How well do you work in a team?7. In which areas do you consider yourself an expert?8. When did you show flexibility and a willingness to do things a new way?9. What are the most important activities that you were responsible for?10. When did you improve the way that something is organized?

What is a Personality Profile Psychometric Test?A Personality Profile Tests comes under the category of Psychometric Test. The Personality Profile Tests are designed to help the employer dissect whether you have the ability to meet the requirements or the skills required for the job. The employer typically looks for behaviours that are important in a job profile. This also helps the employer understand your personality traits.How long arePsychometric Personality Profile TestsThe length of a personality test varies by employer. Some personality tests are very short while others are quite long. Some may have 10 -12 questions while others may have more than 200 questions.The length of the test depends on the what the interviewers are looking for. Typically the more senior the job, the longer the test will be.Are there right or wrong answers in aPsychometric Personality Profile TestsThere are no right or wrong answers in a personality test. In answering questions for a personality test, go with your gut feeling - or the first answer that comes to your mind. Cheating will not help here since if your personality traits do not match those of the requirements of the job, either you or your employer will be unhappy even if you get the job.Normally the questions are set against a time limit so that you give instinctive answers and do not think too much about the questions.Some popular personality testsThere are thousands of types of personality tests. Two very popular personality tests are the Myers - Briggs Firo - B Five ways to improve your interview technique Becoming an exceptional candidate is something you can do; it's just that most people don't take the trouble. In my experience, most interviews don't go that well; most people are bad at them. The truth is that many recruiters are actually not particularly good at interviewing either nor particularly effective. So, if you prepare properly and are a good interviewee, the odds can be stacked in your favour.

To put in a good performance think about planning, practice and positive psychology. An interview is an audition. You need to project yourself as the sort of the person the interviewer wants to hire; as someone they want on the team.

Just checking out a company website is not enough

It's not just a question of researching the organisation. You need to understand your interviewer and why they are hiring. One way or another they are seeking a resource as a solution to an identified problem. Just checking out their website, report and accounts is not enough.

Work on understanding the organisational need and how you can add value. Look at the challenges and opportunities they face and work out how to show that your experience and expertise are relevant. Explore their market, competitors and the changes taking place in the industry.

Use your network to find information about the interviewer and his preferences, the company and its culture. Use LinkedIn and ZoomInfo to gather all the intelligence you can. Focus more on delivery rather than giving off-the-cuff replies

Rehearse your presentation. I don't necessarily mean being word perfect. I'm talking about what you say when anyone asks you what you do, why you left, what you have achieved and so on. Can you talk about yourself comfortably, with confidence, concisely with clarity? Practice so that you have the right words, don't get flustered, talk at the right pace and, crucially, know when to stop. Remember the need for consistency between words and body language.

In an interview you have to know your CV by heart. None of it pops into your head at the last minute; you know what you are going to say and what spin you are going to put on it. A good interviewee has learned his or her lines in advance and is focussing much more on delivery than on off-the-cuff replies.

It's not a solo performance: aim for a 50/50 dialogue

What you really need to do, though, is to make the interview interactive. People trained in interview techniques are told to use the 70/30 rule. That is to say the interviewer aims to talk for about 30% of the time allotted and the candidate talks 70% of the time, in response.

The smart candidate actually wants a 50/50 dialogue. You should aim for a conversation, directed along the lines you prefer whereby you can play to your strengths. The interviewer can only go with what you give them. This is best illustrated by using the "what was your biggest business mistake?" question. Do you really want to tell them your biggest mistake? Really? You decide.

You are aiming for positive interaction. Make it easy for the interviewer by saying "have I told you all you need to know on that subject? Can I give you more detail?" Build rapport, find some common ground. But remember it's not a monologue, you are both actors in the interview and it is a dialogue, a conversation, not a solo performance. A positive outlook is crucial

Henry Ford famously said "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". You're motivated, you've done the prep and have the drive to succeed so visualise success.

Whether you call it confidence, self-esteem or self-belief, to shine at interview you need to show that you will make a good employee. Show that you are good at interacting and reading your situation, good at selling yourself and your ideas. Practicing your interview technique will make it so much easier to shine. There's no need to be nervous if you believe you are a good candidate for the role. If you believe you can do it, then you can do it. You know it because you have prepared, practiced and are ready to show what you can do. Review and follow up

After the interview send a letter. Thank them for seeing you. Reiterate how interested you are in them and the role. Review the key points of the interview when you discussed challenges and opportunities and outline how you can help them meet those.

No guarantees but if you work at it you'll become a better interviewee and give yourself an advantage in a tough economic climate.

Tell Me About Yourself - Best AnswersBecause it's such a common interview question, it's strange that more candidates don't spend the time to prepare for exactly how to answer it. Perhaps because the question seems so disarming and informal, we drop our guard and shift into ramble mode. Resist all temptation to do so.Your interviewer is not looking for a 10-minute dissertation here. Instead, offer a razor sharp sentence or two that sets the stage for further discussion and sets you apart from your competitors.Your Unique...