Monday, February 2, 2015

Are You Offering TMI in a Job Interview?

I've heard many horror stories over the years about job interviews gone wrong.

Many times the mistakes are made by interviewees because they didn't prepare. It wasn't a matter of what they didn't say -- but rather what they did say. It was often a case of TMI.

Interviews can be emotional -- you're often excited and nervous -- and that can lead to things slipping out of your mouth that you later will regret.

For example, I've heard about interviewees who said things like:

  •  "My boss says I'm about a subtle as a freight train."
  •  "I like just wandering around at work and shooting the breeze -- I find it's a great way to get to know people."
  • "My No. 1 interest is fantasy football. I'm addicted."
  • "I don't get along with my family. In fact, the less I have to do with them, the better."
  • "I'm somebody who needs a lot of stroking -- criticism really depresses me."
While you may think such people are clueless, it's not unusual for even really bright people to reveal too many personal details in an interview -- or phrase something so badly they look like idiots. This can often happen at the end of an interview because you feel such a sense of relief that the "formal" interview is over that you relax and don't watch your words as carefully.

That's why it's so important to understand that you need to set boundaries for yourself before an interview. The hiring manager's job is to make you so comfortable that you let your guard down and reveal things about yourself that you might not otherwise.

Before an interview, remind yourself that you should not talk about intimate details of your personal life, disagreements with colleagues or bosses or any insecurities. Think about how you can best answer questions regarding your work style so that it comes across as professional -- not needy, immature or silly.

It's great when you have a nice rapport with an interviewer, but just remember that it can have a downside if you start revealing unflattering information to your new BFF. Draw your boundaries beforehand and stick to them.


Anonymous said...

What is the right answer to "what is your biggest weakness" question?

Anita said...

Please don't say "I work too hard." No one buys that and it just sounds trite and rehearsed. Also, make sure you focus on a professional problem, not a personal one. You can say something like, "I like to get along with everyone on my team, but sometimes I find that leads me to not be assertive enough. I've taken some communications courses that have allowed me to express my ideas with confidence." Don''t repeat the word "weakness," when answering, but rather show how there was an issue and you found a solution. Always remember that the interviewer is looking for a reasons NOT to hire you, so don't give them anything to use against you.

Anonymous said...

My BFF has the best answer to the question of what is your greatest weakness. She said "I like bagpipes".

Anita said... it!

Anonymous said...

Yeah; OK, just like the "bagpipes" answer, I respond: I love rap-music, which, as we know, is hated by most "mature/reasonable" people...