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What to avoid in a job interview

By Divya Nair
November 12, 2014 09:53 IST
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We know, you've worked really hard to earn this interview.

Presenting a list of things you must steer clear from just so that you don't ruin your prospects.

What to avoid in a job interviewCracking a prospective job interview is perhaps the most crucial stage in any professional's career.

No matter how much you prepare for the D-day, there are times, when seemingly casual actions can work against you and ruin your chances.

Before you know it, your candidature is disqualified.

We spoke to a few head-hunters and hiring experts to find out what are the things that can lead to your immediate rejection in a job interview and how to overcome it.

Show influence

It is very common of people to say innocent things like "Do you know 'X'?"

"Whether or not X works in the company you applied for, the hiring manager will hold it against you," warns says Capt Partha Samai, group head of Human Resources at AGS Transact Technologies.

Are you trying to show off your influence even before you're hired?

"Unless someone you know in the organisation helped you fix an appointment and you were asked about your relationship with him/her, avoid volunteering such information in the interview," adds Capt Samai.

Bragging

Even seemingly harmless things like "I'm the best in the market" "I have a good reputation with…" or "I have extremely good connections with…" can work against you.

You might think you're merely stating your people skills, but for the hiring manager you're clearly being pushy, adds Capt Samai.

Do not share too much intra-and inter-personal information with the hiring manager.

Instead, focus on your achievements and skills, he says.

"Talk about the innovations you brought in your last job, how you impacted growth and improved sales and share examples of how you managed your team and lead a project under a tough deadline.

"To avoid making it sound like a monologue of your personal achievements, wherever possible, use words like 'my team', 'our project' which will portray you as a team player. It is important that you choose your words smartly," advises Samai.

Sharing too much about your personal life

Does the interviewer really want to know about your family, or what your grandfather did for a living?

Unless asked, avoid sharing unnecessary details about your personal life, warns Tavleen Singh, HR-recruitment, Manpower Consulting.

"If the information is important, the hiring manager will ask you pointed questions like: 'So what does your father do?'

"Unless asked for, do not volunteer sharing such information," she says.

Also watch out for signs of disinterest from the employer -- "If the information you’re sharing is not of interest, the employer will try and interrupt you from time to time, treat it as a warning sign."

Checking your phone

Another common mistake candidates make is forgetting to put their phones on 'silent' during the interview.

"It is disrespectful of the candidate to answer a phone call or reply to a text message while s/he is being interviewed.

"You must respect the interviewer’s time and follow basic protocol while you’re in the interview room," says Sumer Awasthi, recruiting manager, PeopleCorps Services, a Mumbai-based consulting firm.

Asking trivial questions

"Can I come late and leave early?"

"Does the office pay for coffee/tea?"

"How many paid leaves am I entitled to?"

While these may seem as trivial questions, Awasthi feels that asking them in the first meeting can almost seal your fate -- and you may just end up losing the job.

"The questions you ask in an interview pretty much decides what really matters to you. Avoid discussing remuneration, perks and benefits in the first meeting. Instead discuss goals, responsibilities and opportunities for growth," he suggests.

The hiring manager is more likely to hire a person who is honest, is an earnest learner and has personal goals that align with the company's, sums Tavleen Singh.

Photo: Western Connecticut State University Peggy Stewart/Creative Commons

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