What Not to Say in a Job Interview

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-07-03 Print this article Print

How you answer questions posed to you in job interviews could mean the difference between getting the job and not getting a call back at all.

The nature of interview questions can be there to see how you deal with adversity, how you play with others and how well you can communicate about yourself--and potentially how you would communicate on the job. It's a quick way to size you up against a field of similarly experienced candidates. Many times, it's what you say and how you act in an interview that helps land you a job.

Learning how to master interview questions should go a long way to helping how you are perceived. Remember, perception is everything.

A recent article from job board site Careerbuilder, "43 Things Actually Said in Job Interviews," has some fun with this notion and talks about answers people gave to hiring managers to the most common interview questions. Here a few choice ones:

What kind of computer software have you used? "Computers? Are those the black boxes that sit on the floor next to the desks? My boss has one of those. He uses it. I don't have one. He just gives me my schedule and I follow it." - Greg Szymanski, director of human resources, Geonerco Management, Inc

What are your hobbies and interests? [He said] 'Well, as you can see, I'm a young, virile man and I'm single -- if you ladies know what I'm saying.' Then he looked at one of the fair-haired board members and said, 'I particularly like blondes.'" - Petri R.J. Darby, president, darbyDarnit Public Relations

Tell us about a problem you had with a co-worker and how you resolved it "The resolution was we were both fired."- Jason Shindler, CEO, Curvine Web Solutions

Why do you want to work for us? "I saw the job posted on Twitter and thought, why not?" - Rebecca Gertsmark Oren, Communications Director at The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Tell of a time you made a mistake and how you dealt with it "I stole some equipment from my old job, and I had to pay for its replacement." - Katrina Meistering, manager of outreach, National Fatherhood Initiative

When have you demonstrated leadership skills? "Well my best example would be in the world of online video gaming. I pretty much run the show; it takes a lot to do that." - Rachel Croce

If you aren't sure why these are bad interview answers, you may need to brush up on your interviewing skills. One piece of advice: Learn how to gauge what's appropriate by keeping your answers focused on what you bring to the job, not how you screwed up somewhere else.

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