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Interview Errors

Laurie Stroupe
 


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A good interviewer will make you comfortable as you interview for a new job. He or she should be equally concerned with selling you the company as you are with selling yourself.

It's a good idea to relax and realize that if the interview doesn't go well that it probably wasn't a good fit anyway.

There can be a problem of becoming too relaxed, however. During my tenure as a human resources manager and consultant, I met my share of people who just let it all hang out.

Complaining

Complaining, in general, is not a good tactic while interviewing. Companies spend enough time dealing with complainers as it is without hiring a new one. If you have a situation you need to explain, do so without laying blame on others or complaining about the way things were. One candidate went so far as to complain about his former HR department, adding, “You know how THEY are. " At which point I glanced down at the name tag on my desk, which stated my name, followed by Human Resources Manager. I replied, “Of course, I do. "

He did not get the job.

Giving Vague Answers

A vague answer is the sign that you either don't know what you are talking about or that you are hiding something. A vague answer will put a skilled HR professional hot on your trail faster than anything else. If you don't know, say that you don't. You might include that you are interested and willing to learn about the topic. If you are hiding something, then give a clear answer that you can give honestly.

I asked a candidate why he was fired from his previous job. He should have stated that he had gotten a little too addicted to the Internet when it first came out and was fired for violating the company's policy on Internet use. I would have just assumed he stayed on-line too much and that he probably was over that stage.

But he was vague about it. So I pressed for clarity. I continued to feel that I wasn't understanding what he was communicating to me, so I continued to explore. Eventually he blurted out, “I suppose you've guessed by now that I was looking at *** ography. " No, I hadn't really guessed that at all. I just couldn't understand his vague answers.

He did not get the job.

Bullying And Threatening

You wouldn't believe that some people think that threatening and bullying will get them a job, but they do. If you think that you are protected under a law or statute, it's fine to bring legitimate complaints and seek appropriate relief under those laws if you have been treated unfairly due to your protected status (gender, race, age, etc. ). But using that as your first tactic is a poor choice. One applicant told me that she hadn't received any job offers and she had had a number of interviews (not a good line of conversation during an interview, by the way). This comment came near the end of our interview, which wasn't particularly strong, so her comment made perfect sense to me. She then added that she was beginning to think that the decisions were racially motivated.

After finding out later that she did not get the job, she repeated her comment, more as a threat this time. I told her that she was free to pursue the matter. Of course, our hiring patterns would have been our sound defense.

She didn't get the job.

Being Yourself

It is important to be yourself during an interview. You do not want to get the position by using an alter ego. But it is still important to be a good version of yourself. Be honest about your abilities and your expectations. Listen to the questions carefully and answer them without volunteering less than complimentary information not required by the question. Review your best accomplishments before the interview and be ready to talk about them. Be prepared to ask good questions. But don't let it all hang out. It's not a pretty sight and it won't get you the job.

Laurie Stroupe was a human resources professional for over ten years in the Atlanta, GA, area before retreating to Virginia and a life in the country. Her most current endeavor is Laurie's Cobalt World, http://cobalt-world.com , an Internet store that offers quality cobalt glassware for your home, including handmade American glass serving dishes.

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