How does your personal brand convey during interviews? On the eve of many college graduations, I thought I would offer recent college graduates some free interview advice.
I have found that, in general, truth is always more unbelievable than fiction. I have been on all sides of the hiring process–as hiring manager, voting member of the team, and interviewee. I’m always astonished at the crazy things people do and say in interviews. The following is a list of DON’Ts that actually happened, outrageous behaviors I have personally witnessed in interviews.
- DON’T Show up late. The candidate was in the final round of interviews–with the CEO of the organization!!! She showed up 25 minutes late and didn’t really apologize or explain herself! What was she thinking?
- When asked “what is your dream job?” DON’T describe something totally different than the job or career for which you are applying. I understand explanations about how this position you’re interviewing for might be a steppingstone to your perfect job, but I had a VP/COO candidate for a nonprofit organization who told me his ideal job was to be a Broadway producer. Dead serious. Wanted to be in the theater. I don’t even know what to say about that.
- DON’T answer the question, “why are you interested in this position?” with “because the money is really good.” While that may very well be true, no one likes a moneygrubbing job whore.
- DON’T admit to being dumb as a stump. I believe the exact words the person used were “I barely graduated. It was a miracle they gave me a diploma!” In general, stupidity is not a desirable personal branding trait. This falls under the category of TMI (Too Much Information) and happens with staggering regularity.
- DON’T describe how you always wanted to work for [insert wrong company name here]. Do your research. At the very least, look up the website of the organization’s name and remember it!
- DON’T lie about what you did or about where you worked. Background checks, people! You have to know that somehow, you’re going to be found out!
- When someone explains that a drug test will be needed when applying for this job, DON’T ask, “what kinds of drugs do you test for?” Big red flag.
- DON’T hit on the person doing the interview. Just to be clear, you need a job, not a date! Enough said.
- DON’T lean in conspiratorially and make racially-charged remarks about people of another faith or ethnicity. The remarks this person made were so offensive, I can’t even repeat them here.
- DON’T admit that you’ve been on “literally hundreds of job interviews and no one will hire me.” This does not instill confidence in the interviewer about hiring you, and it will not boost your personal brand.
I’d love to hear your horror stories of bad interview behavior. Help me build a list of crazy things you’ve experienced during job interviews too! Tell me what dreadful/hilarious/unspeakable things people have done or said on a job interview with you.
Thanks in advance for adding to the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you have to tell me!