Career Advancement Interview Tips Self Improvement

Top 7 Things To Avoid During The Important Interview

Being sufficiently confident and professional is a compulsory quality of character when making first impressions. We want to come across to potential employers as a professional person, not only in our work, but in character and personal conduct. A person who is calm and can project ability and deftness when faced with challenges. There is an old saying, “He who talks a lot does not intend to pay”. It talks about people who buy on credit but make excuses. The same applies to candidates as they talk their way through an interview and inadvertently end up making excuses here and there. Here are some things to consider at the interview.

These are:

1. Don’t bad mouth your previous or current employer.

2. Avoid looking somewhere else when answering.

3. Any position will do. I’ll do anything.

4. Don’t tell them cliche lines.

5. Don’t ask them what their company is about.

(You should have done the background research.)

6. Don’t go in empty handed. Bring a notebook.

7. Don’t speak differently. Speak their language.

1. Don’t bad mouth your previous or current employer.

This is really a bad idea, really. Avoid any criticism about your ex boss and company. The moment an interviewer spots this, you’re already on your way out the door. Avoid saying things like, “I don’t like to work there anymore” or “I didn’t like the work culture”. An employer understands that it’s only a matter of time when you start complaining about them when you talk like this. It’s really a waste of your time and effort to come this far after working so hard, especially at a time like this.

If they ask you, “Why are you leaving the company” or “What do you dislike about your company”. Your answer should be, “I like my company but, I really feel it’s time for me to move on to bigger and different scope of challenges”. Make eye contact when answering these which is our next point.

2. Avoid looking somewhere else when answering. 

Making eye contact when speaking has to do with self confidence. If you look somewhere else, it simply means that “you do not mean what you say and therefore you do not say what you mean so you will not bring about the outcome of what you say.”

We end up becoming an ambiguous person so the interviewer is not able to make a proper judgement about us. The result: You guessed it. We don’t get selected.

3. Don’t say “I’ll do any job” or “Any position will do”

This is another major no no. Sometimes when we are desperate, we may end up saying this. You really should not say that you’re up for any task in the company because you are asking someone else to do your job for you, which is to find the tasks suited to your skill. You are the one who must tell the company your strengths and they will take your word and achievements for it. By saying this, you’re actually saying that you don’t specialise in anything or you don’t  really know much about your own job. We said in our previous post Align your work experience strengths parallel to what they are demanding.”

It wouldn’t be hard to imagine you quitting after just a few months on the job and you end up becoming a mishire. Time and effort is also wasted by both sides. So there, be specific about your profession. 

4. Do not tell them cliché lines.

Cliche lines are like the following:

1. I’m a natural leader. 

2. I’m a proven architect.

3. I believe in time management.

These are weak, and lack demonstrable and tangible experience.

Instead, say you’re a leader without saying it.

I led a team of junior architects and interior designers to execute and complete the outer façade design of the XYZ Mall within time and budget.”

Or if you weren’t the leader, but the follower (example: junior architect)

I was part of a team of junior architects and interior designers who executed and completed the outer façade design of the XYZ Mall and other projects like ABC and RST within time and budget. This repeated experience and routine has taught me well to be overall capable in my job scope.”

5. Do not ask them “So what does your company do?”

We can’t stress this enough. You should do your background research as mentioned in our previous post. Take this opportunity to ask deeper details like, “I understand about what your company is doing from your website and projects, but is there anything else you wish to add to your company’s future plans?”  Remember this is just the website and there is always added information. This is a question you can ask in the first interview.

In the second interview, you can ask a much deeper question as to how it relates to your position. Example:

In our last meeting, we discussed your company’s future plans other than on the website. So what further plans do you have for my position and contribution?”

This is a very serious question and you can expect a serious answer. If what they say doesn’t excite you for the long run, for example:

“This is a mid level position and we just need you to support the team for the long term” 

If you can accept this answer, it means that they currently don’t have plans to upgrade your position, responsibilities and salary for the time being. If you are ok with this and you feel you need time to learn more, then go ahead and accept their offer.

But if they answer like this:

“This is a mid level position but we are growing and your position and deliverables will change as the company goes through its many challenging phases. If you can accept this, it means that they are open to upgrade your position, responsibilities and salary in the course of time. You can definitely ask: “In the long term, will you be open to discussing upgrading my position, responsibilities and salary?”  Don’t be afraid to take up duties that have nothing to do with your job as assigned by your superior as it’s all to your advantage. No college teaches these skills and they have to be learnt on the job.

So there’s a right kind of condition where you can ask this question in a checkmate kind of move. It also shows that you’re smart to do so, instead of asking some “Ah Beng” question like, “How much you want to pay me ah?”

6. Don’t go in empty handed. Bring a notebook.

Have you ever seen an interviewer coming in without a pen and a notebook? Do you expect them to come in empty handed? If that were so, chances are, you wouldn’t be impressed.

The converse is also true. You should go in with a notebook and pen. You’ll look more professional this way. Take copious amounts of notes so that you can show them you’re the serious type where work is concerned. If you need to show demonstrations, be equipped. My personal list is bring your laptop as well as the necessary cables such as a standard video cable and HDMI cable with the adapter or Ecast device just in case they want you to do a presentation on the spot. This happened to me a few times so you’ll never really know. Be prepared for that second interview right after the first one as these are known to happen. Interviewers may be quite impressed with your level of preparedness that they may not want to waste time calling you in on another day.

7. Don’t speak in a different way. Speak the same language.

Before you talk, you must listen. But talk less and listen more. And as you listen, try to see what they are talking about and how they are talking about it, what they need and follow them down their rabbit hole. Then when it’s time for you to talk, speak naturally but sound like one of them.

This way you would have identified with them and what their needs are and that is your goal here in being a good listener. Remember, that they are hiring because they have a need which none of them can fulfil at the moment. Show them that you can. It’s that simple.