When it comes to the job interview process, whoever tells the best story
wins. But certain phrases and ideas can short-circuit your career
plans. Are you really able to have the kind of leadership conversation
your job search deserves? When it comes to creating the career
conversation that leads to consideration, avoid these five show-stoppers
in the interview.
1 - When Is Honesty NOT the Best Policy? - do you ever find
yourself saying a version of this phrase: “If I’m being honest...”?
TBH, that phrase is honestly hurting your chances in the interview
process. Here’s why: if I need to call out the fact that I’m being
honest right now, doesn’t it make you wonder if I’ve been honest with
you up until this point? Why did I wait until now to get real and spill
the T? Actually, in the interview, honesty is the only policy that works.
Highlighting the fact that you are getting to the truth, but only just
right now, can arouse suspicion and make people wonder why you aren’t
full-on honest all the time. If you are a person of integrity, honesty
is your default setting. Don’t create unnecessary suspicion. “To be
honest...” is a filler phrase — like “umm” “Uh...” and “like.” None of
those fillers are very satisfying in the job interview. So be really
honest with yourself, and leave out the words that don’t serve you.
5 - Ultimatums - an ultimatum is a statement of what you
won’t tolerate, usually phrased as a demand. Ultimatums reflect terms
that you will or won’t accept, period. By definition, ultimatums point
to your lack of flexibility and adaptability (two characteristics that
might be useful for a new hire, wouldn’t you agree? Why would you
demonstrate that you lack these two key qualities?) Now some ultimatums
are important: “I won’t tolerate racism on my team,” for example, points
to your beliefs and values. But “I won’t work on weekends” or “I need
every Thursday afternoon off, or I can’t work here” is really pointing
out your limitations.
Look for phrases like “I can’t accept _______,” “I won’t allow that” or
“That just won’t work for me.” Because if it won’t work for you, maybe
you won’t work for this company. Every job interview is a negotiation.
Once you get to “yes” you can decide if you want to take the job or not.
You’re in the interview to explore your options — why start cutting
yourself off from possibilities? Does it help your career to present
demands and requirements, or are there other ways of looking at the
situation? Is your ultimatum a personal preference that you’re clinging
to, like a security blanket, or a statement of your integrity, values
and work ethic? It’s better to keep your options open if you really want
the job. Know the difference between uncompromising values and limiting
statements that knock you out of the running. Keep your options open.
Find out what’s really on offer and make a business decision to see if
it fits for you. Ultimately, what you will and won’t accept is your
choice, but arriving at that place without ultimatums is a smart way to
frame the conversation.
See all 5 deadly phrases and the complete Forbes article