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What To Say And What Not To Say At Your Interview

May 11, 2008
We know many people struggle with interviews though they are the most experienced and best qualified for the job.

When you are invited to an interview it means that the hiring manager believes you may be a good match for the job opening, and he or she wants to know for sure. The interview is used to determine whether you are qualified for the position.

Sharing too much information with your co-workers is an office no-no, and sharing too much personal information during the interview is an entirely different blunder.

Linda Lopeke, a career advancement expert and creator of SmartStart Virtual Mentoring Programs says, "The No. 1 risk of offering up too much information is losing out on the second interview," If you say something that inadvertently touched the interviewer's hot buttons, you've automatically characterized yourself as a bad fit for the job.

A candidate who can answer questions in a way which is acceptable, but not necessarily right, to the interviewer, someone who knows something about their potential employers business and the post they hope to fill. These are really the basic components of any candidate who 'interviews well'.

"You always want to leave them wanting just a little bit more of you," says Lopeke. "Employers are looking to hire people who generate goodwill for the company and who make a good first impression on those they meet."

Things that you can safely talk about at the interview are things like, your goals. About what you want in your next assignment and what inspired you to apply for the position. "This is the 'what you want, why now, why them' conversation," Lopeke says.

Furthermore, talk about what motivates you, excites you, what brought you to that particular industry and what attracted you to that specific employment opportunity.

Also, "Relate the highlights of your greatest professional achievements to date without exaggerating or pontificating," Lopeke says.
Additionally, You can and should talk about the things you've done up to this point to invest in yourself and your professional development.

Secondly, things that you should talk about at the interview with little bit caution are thins such as, vacations, allergies, pets, all skills.
If you can chat about a past vacation in relation to the company, it might be OK for your interview.

"For example, if you know the prospective employer is a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity and you vacationed in the same spot where a new housing initiative was just built, it could work for you," Lopeke says.

But, if you're bragging about the six month trip around the world you took during your unemployment, you should probably refrain.

Talking about allergies can also go in both good, and bad direction. "If the interviewer is suffering from allergies and you do too, it could be a bonding moment," Lopeke says. But, "if you use the moment to declare you're allergic to stupid people, you'll get tagged as arrogant."

Similarly, Talking about your pet friends at home can work for or against you. Dogs and cats shouldn't get you into too much trouble, but exotic or high-maintenance companions can be perceived as an issue.

As well, It's not necessary to possess every quality the employer has put on its wish list. If you mention only a couple of skills, it shows you have both initiative and growth potential.

"It also lets the interviewer feel there is something the company can offer you as well. Reciprocal relationships are the most satisfying," Lopeke says.

Finally, things which you should never talk about at your interview is about Lifestyle choices, politics, religion, family plans, endless name dropping, your health history, house problems, nanny drama, rehab trips, and your past bosses from hell.

"Controversial topics may make for stimulating conversation but an attractive employee does not stimulate water-cooler frenzy among the masses," Lopeke advises.

You can establish that you know some of the same people as the interviewer to build rapport, but don't think you're upping the ante by upping the volume.

"While you may know certain people who work for the company already, you don't always know how they are perceived by their employer," Lopeke says. "If they're on the hit list for any reason, you could be painted with that 'birds of a feather' brush instead of being evaluated on your own merit."

Stay away from your health history mental and otherwise. "You're supposed to be positioning yourself as dependable and reliable; not as a candidate likely to spike the bell curve on benefit-related expenses," Lopeke says.

Employers don't want to know much about your life except as it relates to what you've done professionally and what you're likely able to do for them.

Lastly, no prospective boss wants to hear a litany of "boss from hell" stories. They'll hate you for it.
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