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5 Things to Avoid When Interviewing

Debbie Madden
Jan 03, 2012

I've seen tons of articles, speeches and emails on proper interviewing etiquette, do X, Y and Z and you magically land the job of your dreams. In my experience, which has unbelievably been 16 years of being involved in technical recruiting, a candidate can do all the right things, but do one thing wrong and not be able to overcome it. Reason being, interviewers are on the prowl for this, and feel when they see you do or say something negative they are seeing your true colors and this is often the tip of the iceberg to your true self. However true or false this may be, it's best to keep these 5 things in mind when interviewing:

1. Don't boss bash. We've all worked for someone that rubs us the wrong way, doesn't see our true potential, or is just simply difficult to work with for one reason or another. However, it's best to try to keep these sentiments to yourself, or somehow spin your experience into something either neutral or positive when discussing it at an interview. For example, if your old boss thought it was his way or the highway, discuss how you came up with a really cool idea and worked in a grass-roots way to implement it and win his approval.

2. Don't lie. An interview is a sale. You are selling yourself so be sure to put your best foot forward. Just be sure the foot you choose is one of your own. Nobody likes dishonesty and if you are caught in a lie you will likely not be able to overcome it regardless of how flawless you perform on the rest of the interview.

3. Don't ramble. If you are asked to talk about your current job, don't say "To help you get a full picture of my current job let me take you through my entire job history". Be prepared to enthusiastically discuss everything on your resume but be sure to listen closely to the question being asked and focus on answering this question only. If the interviewer wants to probe deeper he will.

4. Don't show up unprepared. I can't tell you how many times I've interviewed people, either on the phone or in person, and they've gotten the name of my company wrong. This is inexcusable. Or, my favorite is "I meant to check out your website but I haven't gotten around to it yet". This just chalks you up as failing #2, you've just lied to me. Always be prepared. In today's age, this means knowing where you are interviewing and even knowing a bit about the folks that run the company, the team and their background. In 10 minutes you can print out a company's LinkedIn, Facebook and home page and have a complete bio of all the executives and folks you are talking to by printing out their LinkedIn pages. Doesn't take much to show you've put in a little effort.

5. Don't settle. Know your bottom line before you send out your first email or have your first interview. Know the compensation, benefits, work environment, location, work hours and culture you need to be happy. Then, be sure to ask questions until you have a clear sense that your needs are going to be met. If you settle for something less than what you need, you are the one that is going to lose out. A word to the wise, be realistic about needs vs wants. I need X to pay my mortgage and bills but I want Y to have a cushion. There's a difference.

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