You Say it Best, When You Say Nothing at All

February 11, 2011

What You Should “Not” Say During the Job Interview

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

You may be keen to demonstrate your communication prowess during the job interview. You may want to prove how witty and bubbly you are by talking as if there will be no tomorrow. You want to show that you know so many things by talking at a rate of 1,000 words per minute.

If this is your case, then this will not work to your advantage. Remember, a job interview is a two-way communication process. Talking too much may just annoy your interviewer.

During the job interview, answer questions candidly. Be as straightforward as you can, but do all in your might not to say the following:

• I really need to earn money to pay off my credit cards.

This is a warning sign that many recruitment officers are wary about. Having too much debt may mean so many things, but for the interviewer it would spell “CRISIS”. It shows potential mismanagement of assets, or misappropriation of resources.

• What is your business exactly about?

It is the job seeker’s responsibility to do research on the company before going to the job interview. You should visit the company’s website or ask around so you would know their products and services are. It would also help if you know their vision and mission because it would show the interviewer that you really are interested to join their organization.

• To contact me, you may Google my name, then find me at Facebook or Twitter me in my account.

If you say this, you are lucky if the interviewer does not send you out of the room in 30 seconds. When applying, make it easy for the company to contact you. Give an easy and sure way to get in touch. If you give your cell phone number, make sure it is always turned on and beside you. If it is a landline you gave, make sure there is someone to take the call and inform you in case you are out your house.

• I am not bragging, but yesterday, I was offered an executive position by a multinational company.

“Oh sure, you are bragging! If you were offered a high position in a well-known company, there is no reason why you should still be applying here. Go ahead, grab it!” This is what the interviewer is likely to say. You applied at a company and when you were offered the position, you went seeking for another job elsewhere? There is no logic there! When applying for a job, be as humble as you can. Avoid being the arrogant brat. Also, do not fool the interviewer by making up stories to speed up the hiring decision. Yes, they will decide fast; they will decide not to hire you.

• I can work under pressure, as long as I take my medicines.

Medicines for what? Are you hypertensive, probably asthmatic, or else psychotic? It is not a weakness if you have a certain illness, for as long as it is controlled. Yet, if you focused on the issue during the job interview, the hiring officer might think you are not well enough to handle the pressure.

• To be honest, it is really my dream to work abroad.

I am just applying while I am waiting for my visa. You have just made it easier for the hiring officer to decide that you are not the right person for the job. A company is spending its resources to train new recruits. It would be a waste to teach new employees who would resign very soon anyway.

• Can I bring my IPod to work? Music helps me deal with stress.

There is a lot of stress at work. You should know how to deal with it, with or without music. What you should emphasize is how you can easily adapt to stressful situations. Listening to music means shutting out, and not facing the battle.

• I really do not need a job. My father has a large construction company, and my mother owns the mall across your building.

As the hiring officer, I have four words to say: GET-OUT-OF-HERE! The company would think they don’t need you as well. If you are not serious about applying, never waste someone else’s time.

Having good conversational skills is necessary in all business organizations. However, it is also obvious that “talking too much” is a disadvantage. You should not converse to the point of boring or at times frightening the listeners. At the same time, do not “overshare” with the interviewer. You might be saying things that can harm you.

Final thought, always think before you talk. Answer questions in 30 seconds, and if you have to ask questions, ask sensible ones. Remember, sometimes you say it best, when you say nothing at all!

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)