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To Say or Not to Say: What to Reveal in an Interview

Honesty is the best policy, but the cold, hard truth may leave you with frostbite. When interviewing with a potential employer, you want to put your best foot forward, which means that some things are better left unsaid, or, at least said in a more positive light. We’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’t’s to make a successful interview.

Reasons for leaving: Always asked, not always answered well.

  • Never state that you were fired. No matter the reason, it will not put you in a good light. Instead of directly saying you were terminated, try stating that you and the company were going in different directions and this position would be a much better fit.
  • Never speak ill of your former managers or bosses. If you refer to your former employers negatively, the interviewer will be concerned that they will be next on your gossip list.
  • Never discuss write-ups or conflicts. Even if you weren’t truly at fault in the situation, that never paints you in a positive light.
  • Do spin the conversation into something positive- perhaps mention some skills you learned or special achievements.

Why you want the job: Other than just needing to pay your bills.

  • Never admit that the job you are applying for is a “stepping stone” or that you are overqualified for it. This will just tell employers that you will leave as soon as a better opportunity is presented.
  • Don’t use desperation to manipulate the situation. Desperation tends to make people uncomfortable, which may not work in your favor.
  • Never say you’d rather be doing something else. This one is pretty obvious, but if you are applying to be an office assistant and you really want to be in law enforcement, the odds are pretty slim that you’ll get the office job if your employer knows you’ll leave for a position in law enforcement faster than they can say “Freeze!”.
  • Do portray confidence! Be confident in your abilities to convince the interviewer that hiring you would be a mutually beneficial move.

Making the connection: Be memorable, but only in a good way.

  • Don’t name drop or point out flaws of the company that you think you could fix. Knowing so-and-so’s uncle or knowing that the company’s sales aren’t doing so hot will not endear the interviewer to you and you’ll just sound cocky.
  • Do try to find common ground with your interviewer, without being too personal. For example, you could ask them what they like most about their company or their favorite part of the job.

What they need to know: Or don’t need to know…

  • Always have a salary desire in mind. Fumbling around to figure out your worth does not encourage the employer to pay you for your worth.
  • Be up front about any upcoming vacations that you have planned in the next 6-8 months. Nothing upsets an employer more than finding out you need time off after they’ve already issued the offer.

Remember that everyone gets nervous in interviews, but we hope these tips will help with the stress jitters!

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