I spend 40% of my time interviewing candidates for a variety of jobs—administrators, professionals, paraprofessionals, trades. You probably cannot name many positions that I have not filled.
So, naturally, I’ve had quite a few experiences where I’ve thought to myself—Did that really just happen in an interview?!
I could write a book, but for now I’ll give you three things I wish people would stop doing during an interview:
Stop filling up the silence. It really is okay to pause for a moment to collect your thoughts and think of a logical and coherent way to answer a question. If you’ve responded to a question, and the interview panel is jotting down notes, it really is okay to sit silently while they record their thoughts about you. Don’t feel pressured to keep expounding upon what you’ve already said just for the sake of eliminating silence.
Stop trashing your past employer. Don’t air your employer’s dirty laundry. Instead of spending your energy telling how horrible it was to work there, focus your time on describing the different ways you’ve added value. Instead of talking about how dysfunctional your department was, talk about how you learned how to work with challenging personalities. Use your time to show how you provided solutions and contributed to the success of the organization.
Do not say the words, “See my resume.” Your resume should promote your skills and accomplishments, but you should also be able to communicate about your work history, your past successes, and why the position you’re applying for is a logical step in your career progression. If the job requires the ability to communicate clearly, these sort of questions might be used to examine how well you can articulate clear thoughts.