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Fired Before You’re Hired: Five Ways To Ruin Any Interview
Arrive on time. Dress well. Write a thank-you note. Don’t lie on the application. You have the job-hunting basics down, but the gods of employment have plagued your people with a drought. Whether you’re interviewing after a layoff, seeking a change of employment or documenting your futile interviewing plight to milk yet another unemployment check, be aware of these five deadly interviewing sins.
1. Don’t get too friendly.
An ex-colleague of mine was looking to migrate back towards substance-abuse counseling, his original area of study and expertise. He was cordial, outgoing and a hard worker. He had plenty of experience and great references, but he met his downfall while making small talk. After the interview, the hiring manager mentioned in passing that he had recently received a DUI. My colleague, attempting to empathize, admitted that he, too, had received a DUI ticket. On three separate occasions. Lesson learned: get job first. Tell war stories later.
2. Don’t forget to train rigorously.
By humbling yourself and asking for the help of others, you’ll receive constructive criticism and be able to integrate another perspective into your response. You may even be asked a question that you never considered answering, making great practice for unexpected interview surprises.
3. Don’t forget to shut up.
The yes man is just as deadly, if not more so, than the poker face. He will nod his head and seem to understand and agree with every answer. Feeling encouraged by this enthusiasm, you will elaborate. And elaborate. You will continue elaborating until you realize that you could say your career goals to sleep with the boss, publish trade secrets and burn the building down, and the yes man would still nod his head.
In the yes man’s defense, sometimes he may actually agree with what you are saying at first, but, towards the end, every nod means “Yes, I understand. Just like I understood ten minutes ago. Please stop talking, lest I puncture my own eardrums with this letter opener.”
4. Don’t forget to tone it down.
5. Don’t forget to bring enough supplies to make a Boy Scout proud.
If multiple members of management are administering the interview, make sure to provide a resume for each person. Worst-case scenario: you only bring one resume and end up with back-to-back interviews, thus leaving you empty-handed for the second round.
Whether you’re rebounding from a layoff, looking for a different job or seeking excuses to stay unemployed, these tips will help you accomplish your objective. By becoming aware of these deadly interviewing sins, you’ve taken the first step towards meeting your goal!
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