Ill-advised Interview Techniques


If you’re looking for a new job, you know that an interview is a key step in your search. After all, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the company as well as to discuss your abilities and experiences. Successful interviewing requires careful preparation, and it’s critical to avoid blunders that might cast doubt on your professionalism.

Amazingly, some candidates seem to go out of their way to shoot themselves in the foot. A recent Accountemps survey of 150 executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies, highlights ways some job candidates have, perhaps inadvertently, managed to convince potential employers not to hire them. Executives were asked, "What is the most inappropriate thing a candidate has said during a job interview?" Here are some of their responses:

  • "The candidate said she would really prefer a job offer from our competitor."
  • "An applicant stated that there was nothing I could tell him he didn’t already know; he said he knew everything about our business."
  • "A person argued that the requirements for hiring were wrong — and then fell asleep."
  • "One candidate was 25 minutes late for his interview and was upset with me for being annoyed by his tardiness."
  • "The person invited me out for a drink after the interview."
  • "One prospect told me all of the reasons he shouldn’t be hired."
  • "An individual applied for a customer service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘dealing with people.’"
  • "The applicant told me he really was not interested in the position, but he liked that we allowed for a lot of time off."

Each of these ill-advised strategies is a surefire way not to get the job. While these anecdotes may be somewhat hard to believe and even humorous, the point is that, even if these individuals were extremely well qualified for the job, their behavior knocked them out of the running. This is true on a more nuanced level as well. It’s advisable to let your personality shine during an interview so the hiring manager can get a better idea of how you would fit into the company culture, but being overly candid can backfire.

Remember that the interview is an opportunity to show interest in the company and enthusiasm for the position. Strive to display qualities the company is seeking and outline meaningful contributions you could make. And remember, the best way to avoid interview mistakes is thorough preparation. After all, the more you know about a company and the job, the more relaxed you’ll feel during the interview.

Source: Robert Half Financing and Accounting and Accountemps

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