Interview

Avoid Doing These Things At An Interview

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In one of my older articles, “You Only Have 3 Seconds to Get the Job Offer,” I promised to explain how I know who should get an interview.

The interview with me, a recruiter, is simple: If you meet the minimum qualifications to be considered, I’ll bring you in for the interview. Then the fun starts.

There are a number of sure-fire signs that a person should not be submitted to a client. And I am not talking here about the basics: being late; being dressed inappropriately; smelling bad (from perfume, cologne, or cigarette smoke); bad mouthing current or past employers; talking about sex, religion, or politics; all the basics that everyone knows – or should know!

Avoid Doing These Things At An Interview

The first sign is not being prepared. I love it when candidates ask me questions based on what they learned about me from my website. If they researched me, I know they will research the employer and the interviewers. But that’s rare and a nice touch but not necessary.

What’s necessary is knowing the job description. Reading the job description for the first time when they arrive at my office is a clear sign that a candidate does not understand due diligence.

And that’s not all. It also means that when I asked, and I always do, if they read the job description, they lied. No one hires liars. Period.

Second, not being able to answer simple questions. When I ask a finance person a “numbers” question related to a past employer, I don’t mind them having to think about it. Everyone if forgetful, myself included!

But if they can’t answer a question about their current employer, it’s not a good omen. No one hires someone who can’t provide basic information about their current job or employer. Period.

Third, refusing to answer a question. I’ve interviewed scores of veterans and not one has ever used confidentiality as an excuse for not answering a question. There is always a way to answer without giving away corporate or state secrets. If you refuse to answer, you’re hiding something. No one hires candidates with something to hide. Period.

Fourth, not giving a direct answer to a direct question. The interviewer sets the priorities by the questions she asks. If a candidate’s reply deals with extraneous issues, clearly he either does not listen or does not understand what is being asked of him. That means he does not communicate well. No one hires poor communicators. Period.

And fifth, not having questions to ask. Granted, as a recruiter I may not be able to answer most questions, but if a candidate has none, that means that he has not thought about the position. No one hires individuals who do not contemplate what they are doing. Period.


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Bruce Hurwitz

Bruce A. Hurwitz, Ph.D., president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd., has been an executive recruiter and career counselor since 2003.

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