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Four Things NOT to do in a Job Interview

Fortune recently gave us some great pointers on what to do in order to Rock your Next Job Interview. They asked executive coach Mary Civiello to share four ways to nail your next interview through communication. She mentions talking yourself up, having your three best qualities in your back pocket, storytelling, and fighting nerves with confident-looking body language. All of these great pointers on what to do in a job interview to really make a great impression got us thinking about what not to do. Here are four things not to do in your next job interview.

Don’t #1: Boss Bash

Regardless of how horrid your current boss is, there is no reason for you to show your potential next boss how entitled, unaccountable, or plain negative you can be in the event that you get the job you are interviewing for. Because that’s all boss-bashing really accomplishes. You are the one that ends up looking bad no matter what. Keep things positive and tell stories about how you adapt to change and overcome adversity like a champ rather than dwell in the negative.

Don’t #2: Tell Your Whole Life Story

One of the hardest interview questions to answer (especially for over-thinkers) is “Tell me a little about yourself?” If not prepared for that question, you might panic and go way too much info or way too little. Too much: “Well I was born at St. John’s Hospital in 1984.” Too little: “I have a dog and live in an apartment.”

The secret to answering this question perfectly is having a prepared “elevator pitch” that tells them enough about you to feel like they are getting to know you, but not so much that they are checking their watch. Tie it to the job you are interviewing for by figuring out how you arrived at the point you are in your career and then tell a short story about that. Here is a great article with different examples of how to not go whole life story when answering that question.

Don’t #3: Be Dumb

You are a smart person, so don’t accidentally demonstrate otherwise by not doing your homework about the company and the job you are interviewing for. Hiring managers will definitely assume that you know a thing or two about their business, industry, and the work you will be performing should you be hired. They may also assume you are a fan of their business and respect it in some way, so you should also know what attracted you to the job and what you admire about their product/service.

Don’t #4: Blow it Upon Arrival

It is always best to stay on the safe side when deciding what to wear to an interview. When in doubt, (really just always) wear a suit or a dress/jacket to a job interview. If the company appears to have a relaxed culture or a creative environment, still wear the suit, but add some flare like a necklace or tie that shows your fun/creative/relaxed side. You will never be faulted for dressing respectfully at an interview, however, if you show up in jeans, you might have an answer to the “Why haven’t they called yet?” question afterward. Also, don’t. be. late.

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