So you've prepared for your upcoming interview and know exactly what to say. You know why you want the job and how to explain the ways in which your past experiences are applicable to it. And you've practiced it all over and over again in the mirror so that you're sure to impress your interviewer.
But have you thought about what you absolutely shouldn't say?
These seven lines may make you come off like you're trying too hard, so avoid them the best you can.
If your interviewer asks you why you want to work for the company, say something of substance. Responding that it's your "dream" to work there leaves little explanation; it's a vague, empty response that doesn't actually answer the question.
Instead of trying to stress to your interviewer that you love the company, detail what exactly you love about the company. Why is it your dream to work for the company? What about the company is so desirable to you—its values, mission, benefits, etc.? Are there specific leaders at the company who you consider role models? What does the company do differently from its competitors that you admire?
Being specific about why you want to work for the company will be more impressive anyway since it shows that you've done your research.
Often, an interviewer will ask you what you think the company can do differently to improve some system, its culture, a program, etc. After all, the company is looking to hire some (and considering you) to help them to do better or to do more in some way.
Instead of trying to impress your interviewer by telling them how great you think their company is, impress them by telling them exactly what you think they can do to improve. If you don't, you'll look like you're trying to hard to be a brown nose.
Again, telling an interviewer that their company's competitors have nothing on them will make you come off like you're sucking up to them. Instead, focus on the company's pain points with regards to its competitors: What do competitors do better or have that this company does not, and how can you help the company to do or achieve just that?
Don't walk into your interview complimenting your interviewer's physical appearance in any way. They're not going to care whether or not you like their outfit, their jacket, their tie, their dress or whatever else they may be wearing. They're going to care about your experiences and what you can bring to the company. If you walk in attempting to compliment them, they may think that you're only trying to get them to like you, and your compliment could come across as ingenuine.
If you're stopping for coffee before your interview, get yourself a coffee. A chai latte. A shot of espresso. A matcha tea. Whatever it is. But don't bother asking your interviewer if there's anything you can grab for them on your way over. Just bring yourself, copies of your resume and the questions you'd prepared (when you did your homework!) with you.
When your interviewer likely asks you where you see yourself in the next five or 10 years, be honest. Maybe you see yourself as a manager or a leader in some way. Whatever you say, don't just tell your employer that you see yourself still at the company as if to say "I'm so loyal, I'll stay forever." You'll certainly come across like you're trying too hard instead of being true.
If your interviewer asks you what your hobbies are outside of work, tell them. People like people — well-rounded individuals who have passions, not robots. Do you love playing the guitar? Do you play on a club league on the weekends? Are you a big music fan who loves seeing live shows? Maybe you're a winter sports guru and escape to the mountains whenever you get the chance. Talk about it, whatever you like to do — you might actually find common ground with your interviewer.
You absolutely won't find common ground, however, if you tell them that you just love to work, work, work so much just to impress them.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.
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