Last week, Alicia explained what questions interviewers should avoid. This week Eric explores the answers candidates shouldn’t give!
We’ve all been there. You think you’re prepared, but you’re nervous. Then the interviewer asks you THAT question – and your mind goes blank. Or you’re so excited to get the interview that you immediately focus on what the company can give YOU, rather than what you can bring to the company. Or you’re flustered because so far it’s been a bad day. For whatever reason – you make one of these interview faux pas that can take you out of the running for the position. Keep these tips in mind when you’re in the hot seat so you shine.
Q: “What are your biggest weaknesses?”
A: Some variation of “I work too hard” or “I don’t know when to stop working.” Nobody’s perfect. Interviewers are looking for people who genuinely know their weaknesses and make efforts to learn from them. Turning a strength into a weakness shows the interviewer that you don’t focus on personal growth.
Q: “What do you know about our company?”
A: “Not a lot” or “I didn’t know you made that. I love that product!”
Do some research before the interview. With pretty much any information you need only a few mouse clicks away, not knowing anything about the company you’re interviewing for is inexcusable. Do your homework! Use Google, LinkedIn, and employee reviews on Indeed. Even if your mind goes blank, have a few things written down that you can refer to if needed.
Q: “What salary do you expect?”
A: “I don’t know.” Or “What do you suggest?”
Once again, do some research. www.payscale.com and other salary sites are available to see what the average salary for your position is. Interviewers are looking to see if you know what you’re worth and if it aligns with their company.
Q: “What was your manager’s biggest weakness?”
A: “He/She was a horrible boss!”
Be careful about badmouthing former employers and colleagues. You never know what ties they will have to the companies you’re interviewing for now. Have a plan about what you are going to say about your current (or most recent) job and manager, and why you are looking for a new position.
Q: “Do you have any questions for me?”
A: “No, I think we’re good.” Or some variation of that answer.
Always have some parting questions – either to firm up next steps in the process or to generally find out more about the company culture, the job, the customers, and the team. Find out how you can fit in, and if this is a place you really want to work. Remember if you get the interviewer talking, it will take some of the pressure off of you.
In general – be prepared to give real answers to questions and avoid the “I don’t knows” as much as possible.
And don’t worry – you’ll nail it!