June 5, 2013 – San Francisco, CA - With the upswing of the job climate, your chance to get ahead in your industry has finally arrived. Now comes the hard part: nailing the interview to seal the deal for career advancement.Whether you’re looking to land a new position or climbing the corporate ladder within your current company, job interviews are nothing short of nerve-wracking. When the future of your career depends on a 30-minute interview, it’s easy to let your nerves and ego get the best of you.
Throughout my career I’ve witnessed a number of interview flops. While I cringe in recollection, there’s a lot to be learned from the mistakes of others. Most importantly, terrible interviews happen to even the most skilled business professionals. But if you’re quick on your feet, you may be able to turn around a sticky situation.
If you’re looking to advance your career, don’t say the following things in your next interview:
1. “I hated my previous manager.” Nothing will turn your interview in a bad direction faster than sharing ill will for your former employers, bosses, or coworkers. You’ll immediately be pegged as unable to work well with others, unloyal, and immature–none of which will position you for taking your career to the next level.
Don’t fall into the trap of badmouthing others when you’re asked about potentially negative experiences. Instead, focus on presenting the situation in a positive light and express what you learned from your experience. For example, you and your manager may have initially had communication problems, but present the situation in such a way that it demonstrates your ability to learn to adapt to the communication styles of others.
2. “I see this company tripling its revenue under my guidance.” Don’t make the mistake of showcasing a vision for your position or the company that doesn’t align with the current company culture or mission. While it’s great to come in with strong ideas, if they lack the necessary research and understanding of the company, you’re bound to be passed over for the position.
During the interview, you may be asked what you can bring to the position or company as a whole. Be sure your vision aligns with the company’s. If you’ve misstepped, carefully present a more relevant idea in the direction they reference.
3. “I’ve won three national awards.” Contrary to popular belief, employers don’t want to hear about your personal successes. They want to hear what you can do for the company. To avoid sounding like you’re reading your resume verbatim, inform your interviewer of your previous experiences by adding on information of how you can directly benefit the company because of your accomplishments. As an example, you may have successfully brought on 50 new clients in your time with your previous company–use this as a segway into how you plan to increase sales for your potential employer.
4. “I really don’t have any weaknesses.” Everybody has shortcoming. Ignoring yours will only make your interviewer roll their eyes. If you’re asked to share your weaknesses, choose a quality to share that isn’t central to the position you’re applying for. Make sure to address your weakness and share how you’ve learned from it to improve for the future. This shows your ability to learn from your mistakes and grow.
5. “You’ll never find another manager as great as I am.” Sure, confidence may land you an interview, but advancing your career requires a sense of humbleness. You may have accomplished a lot during your career, but you to find a way to present your experiences without a know-it-all demeanor. If you feel like you’ve come off a little arrogant, note the help you had from a great team of employees or your administrative assistant.
6. “No, I don’t have any questions.” Ending an interview without asking any questions is a red flag for an interviewer. Why hire someone who isn’t even interested in getting a few of their company-related questions answered? Prepare questions before your interview regarding any questions you have about the position, company culture, mission, or employees experiences at the company.
If you leave your interview without asking questions, email your interviewer as soon as you get home to thank them for their time and also inform them of a question you thought of after leaving the interview.
7. “I left the company on amicable terms.” Lying won’t land you anywhere but the rejection pile–but somehow 53 percent of resumes and job applications contain falsifications. If you plan on embellishing your experiences or accomplishments during your interview, just know that your employer will find out. It’s better to err on the side of honesty during your interview, rather than getting blacklisted by the employer for lying.
8. “Who are your customers, again?” If you don’t have time to research the company or your potential position, don’t bother showing up. This not only wastes the time of the employer, but also presents you as lazy. If you’re truly looking to advance your career, you’ll know the ins and outs of every company you send your resume to.
What else should you avoid saying during an interview?
Courtesy of Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!