Many job candidates are nervous about participating in a job interview. After much hard work in writing countless resumes, cover letters, and job applications, these individuals hope that they will interview well, impress the hiring officer of the company to which they have applied, and finally get hired. With some practice and preparation, employment interviewing need not be a mystery or a horror. In fact, it can be enjoyable, informative, and even fun. In addition, every interview that you complete will make you more practiced in the art of interviewing. By continuing to interview for jobs, you will learn the range of variety of questions and scenarios that may confront you. Then you will be better prepared to win the job of your dreams!
There are many different things that you should not say during a job interview and there are likely more than 10 things not to say. However, 10 of the worst things to say are listed below. There are also things that your potential employers' representatives should not say to you or ask you. In addition, there are some questions that are simply illegal to ask any job candidate in an interview.
- 1. How much does the job pay?
Some people ask this question before the interviewer has a chance to even ask THEIR first question and this is a big mistake. It makes it seem as if all you are after is money. As a rule, wages and salaries are not discussed during the first interview. You may have three interviews altogether with one company. If money is discussed, it is up to the interviewer from the company to open up that subject. If they ask you how much money you want, have a range of salaries to give them and not a specific amount. First, research how much the job you want really pays in your town or state and then come up with a range of a yearly salary to request.
Let's say an auto mechanic makes $35,000 a year in your city after working five years. When you apply to become an auto mechanic, state the range of pay you want as $32,000 - 38,000 a year. Or you could use a broader range, like $30,000 - $40,000 a year. Make sure it is a realistic range. For example, if a fast food full-time grillman in your town usually makes $13,000 per year, don't interview at that restaurant and ask for $20,000 - $30,000 per year.
- 2. What does your company make (or do)?
A job candidate must research the company for which they want to work before going into a job interview with them. Look the company up on the Internet and read as much as you can about it and take notes. Try to find the company's Annual Report and read it. Your local libraries can help you do that.
- 3. Do not use SLANG words or phrases in your job interview.
- The interview is not a casual conversation with friends on a street corner or in a lounge. It is a formal conversation and requires the use of good English grammar. There is not time enough during an interview for the interviewer to figure out what you are talking about. They also should not HAVE to figure it out. On the other hand, even if they do understand you, you are being disrespectful and overly casual in the interview by using slang. You will also sound like you are playing and not serious about doing good work, and the interviewer won't take you seriously. Just don't do it.
- 4. What can you do for me; what are the benefits like vacations, promotions and bonuses?
Hiring officers and job interviewers like job candidates with self-confidence, but they do not like people who are selfish. The first interview you have with a company is all about what you can do for THEM. You are not doing them a favor by interviewing with them, so keep these questions until the second interview or until the interviewer opens up the subject. The interviewer will ask you why the company should hire you and then you can emphasize your skills, talents and contributions you have to offer them. Be prepared to tell clearly what specific ways you have helped your former employers.
- 5. No profanity or cursing of any kind.
You must never curse, cuss, or use any kind of profanity in any job interview. That includes the word p_ssed, as in "p_ssed off." That is cursing and profanity. Do not say it. Do not say "damn", "hell", or the F-word or the n-word. In addition, women are women and not "‘hos." A more appropriate start.
- 6. No stereotypical language.
Do not refer to people of other genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, ethnicities, races, handicaps, religions or other diversity in any slang terms, slurs, or other denigrating language. Ever.
- 7. Do not criticize any former employer.
Bashing a former boss, or criticizing them in any way, lets the interviewer know that you will do the same to them if you leave their company. Instead, you can explain that you had a difference of opinion with your former employer in work philosophies or styles. Do not dwell on your answer about an employer where things did not go so well for you, and make it short.
- 8. If you are asked if you have any questions, don't say "No."
Saying NO says to the interviewer that you are not very interested in the company and not very smart. So be smart. When you research the company before your interview, come up with at least three questions to ask about the company itself during the interview. For example, ask what plans they have to expand in the next 10 years, or ask what new products and services they might be considering. This is not the time to ask about salary and benefits, either.
- 9. I don't have any weaknesses.
You will likely be asked what strengths and weaknesses you have. If you say you don't have any, the interviewer will believe that you are lying or that you are not thinking. You can say that you don't like to waste time on small talk and are working on being more friendly in the workplace. This is a positive "weakness."
- 10. Don't tell them your life story.
The interviewer will ask you to tell them a little about yourself, but this means where you went to school, what you accomplished in school, where you have worked, and how you have helped your former employers. It can include a little about hobbies and volunteer work, but don't dwell on these things.
Don't tell the employer anything that will lead them to knowing your age, race, gender orientation, religious beliefs, medical conditions, or other personal information. Legally, until they are offering you a job, the employer is not allowed to ask you if you are married, have children, or are planning these things in the future.
They CAN ask you what certifications and licenses you have relevant to the position. If they ask you what nationality your last name is, politely answer that you don't know how that is relevant to the job, but that you would like to discuss your qualifications. If they ask you how old you are, tell them that you will gladly provide that information after you are hired.
The exception to this is if you need to be at least 18 years old to work for the company in the USA. If you are 21 and look young, you may have to answer this question. Lastly, do not bring up personal problems in a job interview, including divorce, breaking up with a girlfriend, bankruptcy, etc.
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