Monday, May 11, 2009

What NOT to say in an interview...

I am constantly amazed at what people will say in an interview. First, I consider a person to be a skilled interviewer when they maintain professional but still make the applicant feel as though they are speaking to a friend and can say anything. That is precisely how an interviewer wants an applicant to feel (comfortable not nervous), because then they tell you the truth (even when they should know better in some circumstances.)

I have had applicants tell me way more then I would ever want to know about their personal lives to the point I have had to redirect and get them back on the path of what I was asking for, but in the midst of their discussion I have learned about their adversity to change (meaning their lack of fit for a fast-paced ever-changing work environment), and their inability to deal with certain personalities (also not a good fit with a large employer with several hundred employees all with very different personalities) and many other key traits. Today I actually had someone tell me about how she was unable to help a customer with a technical problem and basically told the customer they were "S.O.L."! That conversation led to this blog.

There are some very obvious things that should not be said in interviews, and although I appreciate that this person used the acronym for what she was trying to convey... the message was still inappropriate. Speaking in acronyms is never a good idea in an interview. Although saying LOL may be appropriate in a text with a friend, do not say it in an interview. CSM may be an appropriate term to use if you are speaking to someone in your same company that understands the meaning of the acronym, but if you are in an interview for another company... say "Customer Solutions Manager" or "Client Services Monitor" or whatever else it may stand for. Never assume (because what they say about assuming is true.) Remember, an interview is (as a friend of mine once said) your 15 second elevator pitch. You probably will get a lot more than a 15 second interview, but if in the first 15 seconds you have already lost the interviewer's interest, the rest of the interview may not go as well as if you were more prepared, polished, and professional. 3Ps you don't want to forget when you go to your next job interview.