We all know that it is never a good idea to bash your last boss, complain about all the rules you had to follow in your previous job (imagine, the nerve of them asking you to come in on time!!), or start asking about salary before the interview even begins. But there are some other things that can take you out of the race before you even have the chance to start running. Read on to learn how to avoid these surprising, and all too common, errors.
- “I am a team player, committed to getting the job done.” Really? And here we were hoping for an antisocial loner who couldn’t hit a deadline with an Uzi. Simply put, this statement is just too obvious. It’s practically impossible to deliver it with any sense of sincerity, because everyone says it. Instead, try to provide specific examples of where you have followed through on a project, completed an important task ahead of schedule, or been part of an effective team. Employers know that past behavior is generally the best indicator of future performance, and by providing them with concrete examples you will be helping them to form an accurate impression of the type of employee you will be.
- “I like to think outside of the box.” As motivational speaker, Dondi Scumaci, likes to remind people, “There is no box.” As with the first item on this list, this has become an overused, clichéd statement with very little real meaning. Isn’t it better to provide examples of times when you have truly been innovative instead of rehashing an overused phrase? Employers today want innovation, so strive to be innovative in the way you present yourself. In today’s economy, companies need as lean and agile a workforce as possible. In short, they want process engineers instead of just employees who run processes. Highlighting your abilities in this area will definitely help you during the interview process.
- Not having an answer to the question “Tell me about your weaknesses” or “Describe a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it.” These are very common interview questions and you should be prepared to answer them honestly. I recently had a candidate tell me because she was so hard on herself, she never made mistakes. While she may have thought this was an answer that would impress a potential employer, my first thought was, “If she’s so perfect, than we can’t afford her.” Again, real-life examples are the best way to go. Not only will your answer sound sincere, but you will also stand out from other applicants.