Interviewing for a new job is hard – no one can deny that. Not only do you to force yourself into business attire or some other grown-up garb you promised yourself you’d never wear, but you have to be on your best behavior and really sell yourself. It’s torture – especially since you need to sell yourself without saying the wrong things. What are the wrong things, exactly? Unfortunately, there are quite a few of them.
Although a hiring boss may be able to deduce your age based on dates on your resume, you definitely don’t have to share it. Besides, you’re sort of damned if you’re too young or damned if you’re too old.
Your relationship status.
Unless you’re putting a dependent on your insurance plan after you’re hired, your employer does not need to know whether you’re dating, married or recently engaged – no matter how excited you might be about the latter.
You’re trying to get pregnant.
In a sexist world like this, saying you’re trying to have a baby or plan to be a mom in the near future is like the kiss of death. Actually, it IS the kiss of death. Bye-bye.
If you’re not getting a job at a church, they don’t need to know.
Again, unless you’re working in that field, your boss doesn’t need to know what political team play for.
Anything bad about your former boss.
Want to end an interview immediately? Talk crap about your former boss and you’re out the door. Your former bosses shouldn’t be up for discussion at all.
“You guys have a lot of work Happy Hour events?”
Alcoholic much? Yes, that’s how it will be perceived. That, or that you’re more about having a good time than working your ass off.
Your sob stories.
No one’s life is perfect, and yes, we all have crap going on all the time. That’s just a given. But if you’re having a really hard time, keep it to yourself or reschedule the interview if you think you’ll have a diarrhea of the mouth attack.
Your lack of experience.
It’s okay to admit you’re new to the field, but angle that as an asset. Tell your potential boss how he or she is catching you on the way up and why that’s a good thing.
Unrelated personal stories.
While I’m sure your weekend in the Hamptons was amazing and the bonfire was super cool, especially when you’re BFF showed up with marshmallows and tequila, save it. It’s all about business.
The fact that you need a week off in two months for an event.
Even if you know you’re going to have to take off every Friday all summer long because everyone you know is getting married, the interview is no place to address that. Wait until you get hired to drop that bomb. You’re not being deceitful by withholding, but rather looking out for yourself, and no one can fault you for that.
“I don’t know.”
You may not know the answer to a question you’re being asked, but if you rack your brain, you can come up with something. Anything is better than, “I don’t know.”
Negative commentary about the office.
“Is smells like tuna in here!” or “That’s an interesting color for a board room…” are totally out of bounds, and rude to boot.
Your sexual orientation.
Although there are laws that protect members of the LGBT community, that doesn’t mean some bigot isn’t going to ignore those laws. As long as you’re not trying to work in the sex industry where you have sex with people, then don’t even offer it.
Your weakness is that you’re a perfectionist.
You will most certainly be asked what your weakness is, and you most certainly will want to tell them it’s that you’re a perfectionist. Guess what? Everyone says that, and no interviewer ever in the history of the world, has believed it. You can do better.
Career goals you have that are not related to the job.
When you’re asked your long-term ambitions, tell them you see yourself prospering at their company. While your real goal might be to get that novel published, saying that will just be interpreted as you not being serious and you won’t be around very long.
“How soon does vacation time kick in?”
Asking about vacation time can be read as lazy. Don’t let them read that. They’ll tell you all about your benefits once you’re hired. Be cool!
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