Things to never say in an interview
Interviews are already challenging enough without needing to add in the undue pressure of having to speak eloquently about your strengths. There’s so much preparation that goes into interviewing well, and for a transitioning service member, it might be even more challenging to learn the skills of speaking civilian.
Because you know you’re being judged by all of your answers, interview mishaps can happen way too easily. Also knowing that you only have so much time to make a good impression sometimes makes people think they should be really aggressive and intense with their answers. While it can be challenging to sit through an interview, there are some ways you can ensure you’re interviewing well.
First, forget about the rest of the competition. No one has your skills, your experience, and your drive. Comparing yourself and worrying about the other job applicants is only going to make things more challenging for you. So toss that out the window and remember that you’re at the interview because the hiring manager saw something in you that would be an asset to the company.
Secondly, remember that you only have one chance to make a first impression. Select your words carefully and remember that you’re being evaluated not just on what you’re saying but on what you’re not saying. As a transitioning service member, this should be easier for you than for civilian applicants, but it’s a good reminder all the time.
Make sure to avoid saying the following statements in your next interview and you’ll position yourself one step closer to your dream job.
Never mention the incompetency of your previous supervisor. Even if you feel like the interview is going really well and you’ve developed a good relationship with the hiring manager. This is absolutely inappropriate all the time. Saying anything disparaging doesn’t help you look like a good worker; it
detracts from whatever skills you might be bringing to the office. A hiring manager is going to assume that the supervisor wasn’t wrong and that you’re just difficult to manage.
The age old question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” should be answered carefully and with tact. Don’t ever tell the hiring manager that you’ll be conducting the interview for the company. Confidence is a good thing and sought after in all industries, but being arrogant isn’t going to win you any favors. Part of what the interviewer is looking for is whether or not you’re going to integrate well with the team.
Make sure you have questions prepared for the hiring manager. Not having anything to ask isn’t a good look because it indicates that you’ve done zero prep work for the interview. It’s best to have some prepared questions that concern the industry and position for which you’re applying. This also shows the hiring manager that you’re willing to do a little extra work to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool.
Avoiding these sorts of statements will help present yourself in the best light and position you to being one step closer to working for the company. Remember that interviewing is an integral part of getting a job and it takes practice to master. Because you might not have much experience with interviewing, it’s a great idea to practice prep questions and answers as much as you can. The better prepared you are, the more your confidence will show.