We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in an interview and get a question you weren’t ready for. It can be easy to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. But if you go in with a list of things not to say - in any circumstance - then at least you can avoid something you’ll dwell on afterwards.
Here are five starters, but you should definitely add your own.
The bond between staff is a critical element considered when hiring a new employee - particularly if it’s not a massive business or if you’ll be working closely with other. In that case, the last thing a recruiter wants to hear is that you had social or working difficulties in your last job. Saying they didn’t really like you doesn’t mean it was your fault - it may have just been a bad place to work - but to the recruiter, they probably can’t take that chance. Leave feelings between you and your workmates from previous jobs out of it unless you’ve always got along with everyone, or you’re using it to describe your adeptness at resolving conflict and you definitely show up good in the story!
An important part of any role is finishing the job. If you get asked why a specific instance came up where you weren’t able to finish a project, say anything other than “I just gave up.” No employer wants to hear that!
There will of course be moments in any lengthy interview process where you won’t really understand what they want you to say, or what it is they’re asking. That doesn’t mean you should throw it back on them. You want interviewers to leave feeling positive, not like you’ve just told them they don’t make sense. So think of other ways to ask for the question to be repeated that make you seem thoughtful rather than rude.
A pretty simple one: don’t forget the names of the interviewers! When you first meet them, repeat it in your head over and over whilst looking at them. Ingrain that memory!
Last but not least, don’t look desperate. You should come across as someone that will take a job that you’re happy with, not just any that you get offered. Supply and demand you’ve probably heard of before. The more you look like you’re in demand, the more supply you’re likely to have.