Getting a job isn’t easy these days. Whether you’ve been out of work, or are just looking for a change of environment, it’s likely that you’ve spent time and effort applying for jobs, filling in application forms, making telephone calls and posting resumes. So if the chance has finally come along to get your foot in the door and you’ve actually secured an interview, there are some very important DON’Ts to remember if you want to succeed. It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re nervous, and most interviewers will understand that and go easy on you, but there are certain things that are guaranteed to get an interviewer’s back up, and so should be avoided at all costs.
5 Worst Ways to Answer Interview Questions
1) DON’T start by asking the interview questions yourself.
Don’t ask the interviewer what the company does. Research and common sense both tell us that the interviewer wants to believe that you’ve applied for a job at their company, because you want to work at their company, not just because you want to work in any old place. Before you go for any interview, make sure you’ve done some homework about the company, either on the internet or by speaking to people who already work there. Then use the interview as an opportunity to show your interest and commitment.
2) DON’T answer interview questions with ‘I don’t know’, or worse still, sit in silence and stare at your interviewer.
If you don’t know what to say or how to answer a question, don’t panic. Take a breath, and if you need to ask the interviewer if you can come back to that question later. Store it in the back of your mind and make a point of returning to towards the end of the interview. At the same time, try not to answer interview questions with a lot of waffle. If you’re not sure what the interviewer means or wants then ask for clarification- there’s nothing worse than having a candidate who talks around the question leaving you unsure what on earth to write in your interview notes.
3) DON’T use slang or bad language in your answers to interview questions.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget and revert to bad language, especially under pressure. Think before you speak and make sure that the words you say reflect the formality of the situation.
4) DON’T make the interviewer feel as though you’re only there for what you can get.
It’s fine to ask the employer interview questions about salary, benefits, holidays etc- but make sure that these aren’t the only questions you ask. Time your questions right too – at the start of the interview isn’t the right place for these kinds of questions, but later, when you feel that the interviewer understands that you’re genuinely interested in the role.
5) DON’T answer the dreaded interview question, ‘Tell me a little about yourself’ with your life story.
The interviewer wants to know about your skills as relevant to the job, and to understand what value you’ll add to their company. They don’t want to know about your first wife/husband and the problems you’ve had since the marriage ended, about how you’ve struggled since being out of work or about how difficult it is when you need to work and organise child care.
Finally, DO – relax, smile and be yourself.