Before an interview, there is a lot to think about. You want to show your best side and have thought through what to say. You should be personable, but there are certain things you shouldn’t say or do.
We spoke to Clevry’s team of recruiters who gave 5 real life examples of some questionable answers to real interview questions that everyone should avoid at all costs!
“I just divorced because my partner cheated.”
– answer to the question about how the person’s career journey has looked up to today.
Going into too much detail about your personal life, whether it’s a divorce or your last vacation, can be detrimental when you want to show off your most professional self.
Not being able to filter out irrelevant information is unfortunately something that can impair your chances of moving forward in the interview process. Try to only say things that you think are relevant for the recruiter to hear and that justify why you are the right person for the job.
“I have no bad qualities.”
– when asked what weaknesses the candidate needed to work on.
This is probably one of the absolute worst answers you can come up with. No one is perfect and everyone has things they can work on. Not raising any development points gives a very self-righteous impression and shows poor self-awareness. How do you give a good answer to the question then? Answer honestly. If you have difficulty coming up with something, you can try to connect the answer to the new role you are applying for or the industry you work in.
If you’re struggling to find areas for improvement then you can try our free Joy at Work personality questionnaire to find your work strengths and areas for improvement.
“I am very fit.”
– when asked why he was the right person for the job… doing computer admin in an office.
Giving a completely irrelevant answer to this question shows that you haven’t thought your answers through, which is never a positive thing during an interview. Here it is important to try and give concrete examples of how you, through your skills and experience, match the person they are looking for. Even before the interview, think about what you think the company and the recruiter are looking for.
“This is my mother, can she join me?”
– said by a candidate who turned up to an actual interview with his mother in tow (maybe she was just desperate for him to get a job and move out!).
Believe it or not, this is more common than you would believe. Needless to say if you are an adult bringing a third-party to a job interview signals a certain level of immaturity. The only exception is if you recently gave birth or perhaps have a needy, sick dog that you cannot leave alone. The important thing then is that you called and arranged this before the interview.
“You have such beautiful eyes”
– said by a candidate randomly in-between interview questions.
No. No. No! I can’t emphasise enough just how much of a no this is. Even if it’s true, commenting on an interviewer’s appearance is never okay!
Regardless of whether you mean it as a compliment, you should never put the recruiter in such a position. Even if you feel that you and the recruiter “click” and have a nice conversation, you have to respect that the recruiter is at work and in a professional role. Any attempt to schmooze or talk about looks in general is something that reduces your chances of getting the job (although it could have been a different type of job he was after).
Tips to succeed at your interview
Craft an easy to understand CV
Recruiters sift through numerous resumes daily, emphasising the need for a CV that quickly portrays your personality. Lengthy applications or complex data may get lost in the shuffle. Opt for a concise and readable CV, highlighting key details that help the recruiter grasp why you’re the right fit for the job. For creative roles, consider an imaginative CV, while a structured format suits administrative positions.
Give a good first impression
After reviewing applications, recruiters often conduct a preliminary phone check with promising candidates. During this crucial first impression, exude positivity and enthusiasm. Clearly express why the job appeals to you. A poorly executed initial call might hinder your progress, so make it count.
Initiate contact with purpose
Some candidates proactively contact recruiters before interview calls to establish a connection. While introducing yourself is commendable, ensure your call has a clear purpose. Avoid merely stating, “I’ve applied for the position” without adding value. Prepare relevant questions to make the interaction meaningful and avoid wasting the recruiter’s time.
Dress appropriately for the interview
Remember that interviews are mutual evaluations. It’s not just about you impressing the recruiter; it’s also an opportunity for you to assess if the position and workplace align with your preferences. Approach the interview with a positive attitude, a confident handshake, a cheerful demeanour and be well dressed!
Don’t forget that interviews are a two way street and you’re also there to evaluate if the company is the right fit for you.
Good luck, you’ve got this!