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5 things to never reveal in a job interview

avoiding job interview mistakes

A job interview is a potentially life-changing moment. Your future can rest on those few minutes convincing someone that what you offer is worth their money. No matter how well you prepare, there could be questions that you’re not expecting. While you can’t do a lot about interview surprises, you can control what you say.

Here’s five things that you shouldn’t reveal about yourself:

1) Actual weaknesses
It’s inevitable that you will be asked, “What is your greatest weakness,” but be careful how you answer! This question is a trap. The interviewer is trying to get you to admit to a disqualifying shortcoming. Don’t say that you are terrible at dealing with conflict if resolving conflict is a big part of the job. Instead, share a non-disqualifying answer (Suggested answers). Mention a mild weakness that is not relevant to the job.

2) Nerves about your ability to do the job
While the interview itself may make you jittery, don’t mention that you’re nervous about handling the job itself. An interviewer will have no faith in you if you don’t have faith in your ability to do the work. Relay that you are the best person for the job without appearing overconfident or cocky.

3) Past firings
Even if you have been let go from a past job, avoid admitting the detailed reason why to employers. Instead have a brief, positive statement prepared about why you are no longer with the company. For example, you could say, “The manager wanted to choose her own person,” or “My skill set was not a good fit for the position.” If you were let go along with several other people, say something like, “I was part of a 25% staff reduction” to take the focus off of why you were let go.

4) Resentment of past employers
It’s not a crime to dislike your boss. Lots of people do and have valid reasons why. Your ex-boss may have been a deplorable human being, but the interviewer doesn’t need to know it. Complaining about your old boss just makes you look bad. The interviewer will think you’re someone who can’t get along with people or think that you blame others for bad things that happened. Instead, talk about how you have enjoyed working with all types of bosses and how you’ve learned much from each of them.

Change any bad experience that you’ve had in the workplace into a positive. Especially do so if you’re in an industry that requires highly skilled workers.

Take the oil and gas engineering industry for example. It is an industry that is evolving rapidly and the necessary skill-set for such jobs is constantly changing.

oil and energy engineers
Highly skilled? Consider a career in oil or gas engineering.

If you worked as an engineer and had problems with a past boss, focus your discussion instead on what you’ve learned from past situations and on how much better of an engineer that you are because of such challenges.

5) Your intention to move away soon
Interview like you plan to stay forever even if you plan to leave soon for a better job or a new city. It’s totally reasonable to want to move on eventually, but the interviewer won’t see it that way. They don’t want to have to repeat the hiring process again once you leave. Instead, treat every interview as the one you intend to keep because that’s what a potential employer wants to hear.

Even if interviewing makes you nervous, you are in control of what you say. So, tame your tongue, avoid these five common mistakes, and see your interviews improve immediately.  

By Kathy Bernard, with input from the Oil and Gas Industry


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