What Not to Say in an Interview

Currently as I write this, I’m enjoying a mimosa at brunch with two of my girlfriends. I’m not sure how we got on the topic, but we’re discussing terrible interviews that we completely bombed. Sometimes there are just things that you shouldn’t say. And here’s a few examples. 


This one time last year, I was approached for a new job via LinkedIn. I was happy with my current job, but I replied to the message saying that I’m “always happy to learn about new opportunities.”  I had a phone interview, then was asked to go to the office and meet with HR. After the second interview wth HR, I was told there were two positions open and they wanted me to interview for both.

I went back into the office the next day to interview. It went up to the 26th floor, then it all went south from there. I had the first interview and totally thought I had it IN THE BAG. Nothing was about to bring me down.

The second interviewer walked in and sat down. I was so overly confident, I was perched in my seat leaning to the right, bro-style, with my left arm hung over the back of the chair. I leaned forward, not moving my left arm, and shook her hand. She went though the usual; current job, responsibilities, and past experiences. Then she asked the deal-breaking question (if you don’t consider my stance deal-breaking), “what are your life goals?”

My answer still makes me cringe. My answer: “to be a millionaire.” If you know me, you’d know that I was trying to make a joke, but job interviews are NOT the time to make jokes, especially with my sense of humor. Her response, “well, I’m not sure that will happen in the corporate retail industry.” And my worse response, “Well, I’ll just marry one then!”

Cringe, cringe, cringe. Needless to say, I didn’t nail that job, even though for the next week or two, I had still thought I landed it. Luckily for me, I got another really great job that fits the bill more than the former.

Just don’t say dumb things like that at an interview. And another note: know current trends if you’re interviewing for a position in fashion.

One of the fine ladies at brunch mentioned how she interviewed for a handbag position and they asked what trends she’s picked up on in handbags lately. She nervously said “totes, they’re so big and great to put anything in.” Awkward answer. Also, know who the face of the company might be. Don’t say Blake Lively if you’re interviewing at Old Navy. And be sure you know the names of your professors so when your interviewer says, “oh I had that class too! Who is your professor?” 

Lessons well learned and potential great jobs lost. These are all character building, as my mom would say, and I’m now able to pass these along to you. 

Be good, and do research. 

Best of luck in your future endeavors.

xx -S

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