Patrick O' Brien and Susan Davis-Ali, USA TODAY College
Patrick O'Brien's take: There are a plethora of resources that answer the question "what can I say in an interview to really impress a recruiter?" so we're going to take the opposite approach, by sharing 10 things to never say or do in an interview.
These 10 things that will immediately terminate interest on the part of an employer. I'll share five and leave it to Susan to finish it up.
1. "This is my second choice job."
Nobody wants to be the bridesmaid. Period. If you get two offers, then you can have a discussion about an employer about why they believe they are a better choice than the other company. Until then, you need to project interest in a company in an interview with them.
2. "I haven't done a lot of research on your company so don't know much about it."
Honesty is great but the person you are sitting across from chose to work for this company. They like it! To not have taken at least 15 minutes to peruse their website to become knowledgeable enough to talk intelligently about the company is inexcusable.
3. "Your company is awesome - you really rep it well."
There's no place for slang in an interview. Speak with some level of formality so you don't sound like a "kid." Also, don't use filler words like the word "like," which college students are very prone to do. It's like not that impressive.
4. "I'm a little hungover today."
No explanation necessary here. Don't ever say you're hung over in an interview ... and don't ever go to an interview hungover.
5. Can I work from my apartment one day a week (or start an hour after the standard start time)?
Any flexibility you will get will be earned. Asking for it prior to even getting hired sends a bad message to an employer.
Pat's Bottom Line: In an interview situation, think before you speak. Along with impressing the recruiter, you need to avoid any knockout punches you might inflict upon yourself.
Susan Davis-Ali's take: I agree with Pat. An interview is full of landmines - and your challenge is to avoid them. I offer these five additional interview blunders.
6. "I hear from my friends that most people here work more than 40 hours a week."
Don't make reference to the "40 hour week" as a standard or norm. It makes you sound like you're going to be a clock-watcher rather than the kind of professional that will go the extra mile to get the job done.
7. "Is it possible to negotiate for more vacation time?"
Your goal in the job interview is to secure the job. Save discussions about negotiating for job benefits after you've been offered the job.
8. "Sorry I'm late."
If you're late for the interview, you can kiss the job goodbye.
9. "I'm not sure I have everything the job requires, but I'm really interested in it."
Don't give a recruiter any reason to think you are not ideally suited for the position. The truth is that none of the candidates have everything the recruiter is looking for, but your job is not to make it easy for them to see the skills you are lacking.
10. "My old boss was terrible."
Anything negative you say about your previous boss or your colleagues can and will be used against you. Stay positive in the interview.
Susan's bottom line: If the three buzz words in the real estate word are location, location, location, the three buzz words in the interview world are practice, practice, practice. Practice the answers you want to give as well as he answers you don't want to give.
These 10 answers are examples of how what to say to take you out of job contention in an instant.
Patrick O'Brien is a business executive, author of Making College Count and a professor at Miami University. He co-founded a company which has delivered success programs at more than 5000 high schools and colleges nationwide.
Susan Davis-Ali, PhD is the author of How to Become Successful Without Becoming a Man. She is the founder and President of Leadhership1®, and an Executive Education Fellow at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.