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Interviews are always a challenge because we are never quite sure of the personality, appearance, or attitude of the person who is on the other side of the table. This is the dreaded “Hiring Manager”, who will be part of the decision to hire you for a job. The goal of every interview, and every communication for that matter, is persuasion. On the lowest level, the sender of the message (you the interviewee) wants to persuade the receiver (the hiring manager) to initiate positive feedback. Remember, an interview is a game. It’s conversational chess and you need to calculate your moves carefully; otherwise, you could lose.
To achieve persuasion during an interview we need to avoid disrupting the flow of the conversation. To do that, you want to avoid saying certain things.
Here are 5 things that you should never say on an interview:
1. NEVER compliment the physical appearance of the interviewer, ever.
This can stop the flow of an interview in its tracks. If you are a female and do this, you could be perceived as flirty. If you are a male, you might be seen as creepy.
2. NEVER crack jokes, especially ones that could be seen as offensive.
Unless this is an audition, keep the comedy in check. There is too much room for error here and the wrong joke could offend someone. Get the job and then be funny.
3. NEVER insult your old boss or company.
This always makes you look bad, especially if you were let go. Take the high road, you’ll get to where you want to go faster. Always use unbiased language and redirect the any negative comments into positive ones by explaining what you have learned the experiences if failures or past issues are discussed during the interview.
4. NEVER use foul language, no matter how comfortable the conversation is going.
Good interviewers are trained to lead applicants into a comfort zone that can get the person to “drop their guard” and possibly reveal truths that could be obstacles to doing the job. If the interviewer curses, it is not a cue for you to drop an F bomb. Stay on task and be professional at all times. Always be aware of the language you use in an interview.
5. NEVER insult the interviewer - about anything
Sometimes the conversation goes off topic. Sports perhaps? When you are sitting in the hiring manager’s office and you see a NY Yankees photo on the wall, don’t accidentally release your opinions if you are a Red Sox fan from Boston. Maybe it’s politics? Don’t get into a debate on an interview. Always say things like, “I see you point” and “I understand” when touchy subjects including religion, politics, sports, and other news-related items are concerned. Be informed by reading the newspaper before an interview, but don’t be defensive or offensive in expressing opinions on delicate topics.
Keep these tips in mind next time you are in an interview and want to persuade the hiring manager and maintain the positive flow of conversation.