The other day I was conducting an interview and a candidate said something that made me cringe. In fact, what was said was so detrimental to their candidacy that I literally had a physical reaction. My posture tightened, my eyebrows squinted and I could feel my face contorting as if it was saying “Did that person really just say that?”. Now I am not sharing these stories with you to poke fun but rather I am sharing this information with you so that you can absolutely avoid making the same mistake this person did. When I conduct a first round interview with a person there is about a 50/50 chance that the hiring manager has seen the resume. Sometimes I share resumes in advance of the interview and other times I move to my phone interview right away. In the case of the latter, if the interview doesn’t go well the hiring manager will never know you were a candidate for this role. So besides being a good fit for the job and having a wonderful personality there are also specific things you should avoid saying and below I am going to outline a few that are absolute killers to your chance of moving forward in the interview.
So you are just a recruiter right?
I am starting this this one because believe it or not, I have been asked this many times. Now, I am actually not incredibly bothered by it. I like what I do and know the value I provide but I also know that others in my profession are pretty offended when being asked this question. The unfortunate thing is that most of the time a candidate is simply try to discern what type of conversation they are going to have or what your potential role moving forward might be. In all reality this question is typically innocent enough but it just comes off bad. When you say just it implies that a person isn’t important. I heard a saying once that you should treat everyone as if they have a sign hanging from their neck saying “make me feel important”. I suggest you try it some time, you may be surprised by the results. But back to the comment, when you say you are just something, you are downplaying their importance. You would never say, you are just the Materials Manager, right? So try to avoid it here. Believe it or not, you have much to gain from recruiters liking you and they won’t like you if you make them feels as if you are an unfortunate obstacle in your way before you can actually have meaningful conversations.
So what does your company do?
This is another question that absolutely floors me and its one I get often. When someone asks me what the company I work for does, they might as well say “Just so you know, I did absolutely nothing to prepare for this interview because it’s actually not that important to me”. So very often people make snap decisions about people and whether or not they will work for a variety of things based on first impressions or a single statement. There have been times when someone asks me this question, almost immediately and for me it taints the entire interview a bit. It has the same effect or stronger for colleagues I have discussed it with. I am always an advocate for doing more than the necessary preparation and research, but if for some reason you don’t, please don’t say the above statement.
I am just looking for more money?
Any good interviewer will at some point in the conversation ask you something along the lines of “why are you looking to make a move?”. They ask this question because they want to understand your motives for making a move. “Why should they care why I want to make a move?” you might be asking yourself. The reason we want to know is because as a recruiter, a lot of your job is just making sure things don’t blow up in your face. For example, if you say you are just looking because you want more money that is a giant red flag. It means you are more susceptible to a counter offer (which is a terrible idea). It also means you are probably interviewing elsewhere and if by some chance we do decide to make you an offer we may get ourselves into a bidding war. Frankly a whole bunch of bad things could happen. But also in the end it also says a lot about who you are as a person and who you would be as an employee. I have never made a lateral move and it would need to be an extraordinary opportunity for me to consider doing so. We all work for money and pretty much everyone wants more but good lord, you don’t lead with that. You want to say things like “I am really interested in your company” or “in the job description, A B and C really excited me”. Bascially something that outlines what you are passionate about and that thing shouldn’t just be money.
While there are many things you shouldn’t say, these are some that I have run into and I want to make sure you avoid them. Please feel free to comment, ask questions and share this article. I appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to reach this and I hope you found some value in it.