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What not to say in job interviews

3 months ago by Kathy Lewis

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Throughout the recruitment process, it’s important to remain authentic and true to yourself at all times in order to get the best out of the experience. As a Recruiter, something I get asked about a lot is what not to say in interviews, or what is the most common concern when it comes to answering interview questions. The best advice I can give is an old saying that I was taught as a child, and something I have too taught my children - ‘if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all’ 

Loose lips sink ships 

When I’m meeting with potential candidates, I will always ask the interviewee why they are leaving/have left their current role. It’s important to include some key questions around the current or previous employment to gain insights into the relationships they currently have in the workplace, and how they feel about the employer. It’s always concerning when a potential candidate speaks negatively about their employer, especially when they expose too much detail about the internal politics and culture at their current or previous position. Have you ever heard of the phrase “Loose lips sink ships” – this is so relevant when it comes to the recruitment process and job searching as it can give the impression that you are very unprofessional. 

When less is more  

Confidentiality and being discreet is a must when it comes to an interview situation. Remember to keep your responses about a previous employer professional and factual at all times – the last thing a prospective employer wants to hear about is another companies dirty laundry, or finger pointing as to why the position didn’t work out for you. Responses like this can give the impression that you are a gossip or trouble-maker type employee. Being the office gossip isn’t the best skill set to be known for, unless you are writing for a gossip blog of course. 

Two degrees of separation 

It’s important to also consider who may be professionally or personally connected among your business networks and connections, previous managers and potential new employers. You might be off-loading negative feedback to one of their friends, relatives or business connections. 

During your next job interview, when asked one of the standard questions “Why are you leaving your current role?” our advice would be to keep your responses simple and don’t ‘waffle on’. Always be prepared for this type of question, and try to explain diplomatically why the culture wasn’t  the right fit for you and why you made the decision to make a change. It then gives the impression that you are a ‘go-getter’ who takes control of your own destiny and doesn’t have an interest in getting caught up in internal politics. 

Now, I’m not recommending that you shouldn’t be yourself in your interview and throughout the recruitment process, as potential employees and recruiters want to get to know the real you. They need to get a sense of who you are to understand your motivation for applying for a role and determine if you are the right fit for their business. I just want to share some insights into why it’s important to be mindful of your responses, keep them accurate and succinct, and most of all to be yourself.  

Good Luck and Happy Interviewing!