What’s the dumbest thing you can say in an interview? Job applicants have been trying to figure this out with their mouths for generations. Here’s what they’ve discovered. First on the list: offering your own opinion on something that has absolutely zero to do with the job being offered and your ability to do it well.
Pretend that you’ve been invited to a lavish dinner party with people you have never met before. If you are over the age of thirteen, you know better than to submerge yourself into the verbal pit-mines of politics, religion, or lifestyles—yours or anyone else’s.
Yes, the interviewer expects you to relax and be yourself, but don’t assume that means you can tête-à-tête about anything. The environment you wish to become a part of is still a professional one and it exists for basically one purpose: to make products or offer services that will be purchased by as large a number of customers as possible. You are being considered for a position in said business because your resume and cover letter has convinced your target employer that you have the potential to consummate certain tasks better than any one else. The interview is being conducted to confirm that supposition. It is not an occasion for letting your hair down.
Imagine this (based on a true story from one of my clients): You’re in the midst of a job interview when someone comes barging into your interview with a full head of steam, chews-out the interviewer (dropping a few f-bombs in the process) and then leaves, slamming the door behind him. In an attempt to break the ice and perhaps ingratiate yourself with the interviewer, you remark, “That guy needs to drink less coffee!” Hey, maybe you thought you were being clever! (Hope not…that line has been used by every boob who ever donned a clip-on tie). No matter your intention, you’re sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. And besides, what do you know? Maybe the interviewer and the steam-roller are best friends outside the office. Maybe they’re related. Or maybe that guy you just labeled a caffeine addict would have been on your team…or your boss…or reporting to you (note my use of the conditional).
Even if your interview is going well, you’re still expected to observe the traditional protocols expected of a professional. So don’t make jokes about the office secretary’s bouffant hairstyle or self-righteously launch into some tedious jeremiad over Obamacare, even if you think the interviewer would concur. Your personal opinions are irrelevant to your prospective bosses. Respect their reason for being and they’ll respect yours.
Mock Interview Program
Resume Deli runs an uncompromising mock-interview program with job candidates at talent agencies, leading online job boards and corporations. Have a target job description? We can run a mock interview with you! 3 hours of role play with feedback. We’ll make you sweat, but you’ll be ready for the big show!