You’re feeling confident. You know you have the right skills for the job. You’ve clicked with the interviewer or interview panel and everything’s going swimmingly. You’re on a roll, perhaps a bit too cocky for your own good… then you drop a comment you really should have kept to yourself and everything falls apart. Bugger.
Here are 10 things it’s best NOT to mention at a job interview, a client meeting or indeed your next networking event.
- Don’t tell them that hilarious story about the last time you got so pissed you slept on a motorway roundabout and had to be rescued by the police. In fact, don’t mention getting pissed at all. Work and play are separate for a reason.
- Keep quiet about the fact that your last boss was an utter twat, that the company was totally dysfunctional, that you hated your colleagues and nicked off at every opportunity. It won’t reflect well on you.
- Nobody – and we mean nobody – needs to know about your porn addiction, inability to hold your bladder or your odd male penchant for wearing ladies knickers under your business suit. Over-sharing is rarely a wise move in an interview context.
- If you didn’t bother looking at their website and don’t really know about what the company interviewing you actually does / makes / sells, shut up about it. Revealing your ignorance will not help you make friends and influence people.
- Some experts say confessing that you’re nervous is a big no-no. Others say it’s fine because trying to hide the terror only makes your nerves worse, while confessing to it dissolves the feeling like magic. Which suits you best?
- Passion is over-rated. How many times have you heard someone say they’re ‘passionate’ about something? Think of a different word or you’ll end up sounding like a walking cliché. The same goes for all those other business language classics: thinking outside the box, blue sky thinking, helicopter thinking… bollocks, bollocks, bollocks.
- WIIFM? You’re not at a job interview to find out ‘what’s in it for you’, although it’s important to know. You’re there to reveal how perfect you are for the job from the employer’s perspective. Leave questions about holiday entitlement, sick pay and in-work benefits until the end of the interview.
- Swearing is fine if you know it’ll be well received, say by friends, family and work colleagues you’ve known for ages. But peppering your interview with the F and C words isn’t going to get you the desired effect. It’s more likely to scare your interviewer off or offend them so badly they’ll never want you to darken their doors again.
- Keep your personal problems to yourself. Bringing up personal issues is a job interview no-no, the last place you want to reveal embarrassing relationship problems, cringeworthy financial nightmares and gory medical issues.
- The same goes for your biggest weakness, a question interviewers often ask. If your biggest weakness is eating two battenburg cakes a day washed down with a bottle of gin, button it. Lie instead, and do it in a very specific way. You could say your biggest weakness is poor presentation skills, but top it off by saying you’re sending yourself of a course / reading a book / practising to improve matters. As long as you show them you’re taking action to strengthen your worst weakness, working on it, you’ll be fine.