The 9 Worst Things People Ever Said to Me in a Job Interview
When I was still in the magazine business, I commissioned a study with an organization of human resource managers about the potential pitfalls during a job interview. It revealed that the decision not to hire is often made within the first five to fifteen minutes of an interview. You need to instantly impress with your promptness, clothes, hair, handshake, body language and manner.
But you’re still not over the hump, of course. Next, you must prove you’re the one. Unfortunately, even a strong candidate can blow it with one bad comment. Here are some of the doozies I have heard over the years.
1) “My favorite magazine? Glamour, I guess.”
There’s nothing wrong on the surface with that answer, but the person who said it was applying to be my assistant when I was running, duh, Cosmopolitan. You might assume she was guileless and just couldn’t utter a lie, but I think she was actually incredibly nervous and blurted out an answer that, though true, she instantly regretted.
My recommendation for every job interview, no matter how senior you are, is to rehearse. Jot down possible questions — standard stuff as well as far-out ones (use your imagination) — and role play with a good friend. But change your answers up a little each time so they won’t sound canned during the interview. Even if you get thrown a few curveballs, rehearsing will up your comfort level so you’ll be better able to deal with those.
2) “I’d like to be involved in some aspect of magazines — editorial, or maybe marketing.”
I heard many variations on this over the years (“articles or fashion,” “fashion or photo,” etc.) and that kind of response guaranteed I’d cut the session real short. It’s not the interviewer’s job to help you sort out how the company and/or field works. Nor is she there to help you decide on a career path. Never seem ambivalent or unfocused. Avoid the word “or.”
3) “Does the company offer childcare?”
That may be something you definitely have to find out, just as you need to know about the 401K plan and vacation time. But don’t solicit that information from a prospective boss during the initial interview. You need to be zero in on the job and what it entails, not the benefits and perks. You can get to those details when… Continue reading at HuffPo’s The Blog.