Three Strikes, You’re Out—Top Interview Deal-Breakers

April 13, 2017

This spring, nearly three million college students will graduate with an associate or bachelor’s degree.  As many of these graduates embark on their professional careers, it’s critical that they perform at their very best during job interviews.  Here are three deal-breakers to avoid at all costs according to expert Human Resource leaders.


Trash-talking.  Many Human Resource executives agree that when a candidate talks negatively about previous bosses or companies for which they’ve worked, they are automatically eliminated from the final list of potential job candidates.  While explaining why a candidate was not a good fit is completely acceptable, speaking poorly about a previous boss or employer is extremely unprofessional.  It also provides the interviewer with evidence that the candidate is unable to differentiate between what is personal versus professional.  Even if the candidate’s complaint is justified and true, stating it is a red flag.

Dale Carnegie’s 14th Human Relations principle, ‘Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately,’ underscores the importance of never compromising one’s composure—especially during a job interview.  Instead, candidates should practice answering questions like, “Why did you leave your last job?” by generating professional answers that don’t throw anyone, including co-workers, under the bus.

Winging it.  One of the most infuriating aspects of interviewing cited by Human Resources leaders is when a candidate clearly has not prepared for the interview.  Dale Carnegie said, “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.”  In today’s hyper-connected, technologically advanced age, there is no reason not to research an organization and its leaders beforehand.  Searching for probable interview questions and devising ideal answers is equally important.  Reflecting on both the candidate’s professional work experience and the job description enables her to prepare strong, specific examples to interview questions. 

While it’s impossible to anticipate every single question that will be asked, there are a few that most likely will be posed such as:

Why do you want to work here?

Which aspects of the role appeal to you most, and why?

What skills do you have that qualify you as an ideal candidate?

The more prepared the candidate is, the greater the likelihood she will be hired which is exemplified by Dale Carnegie’s 3rd principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want.’

Stretching the truth, or outright lying.  A candidate whose resume misrepresents their qualifications and/or accomplishments is a definite deal-breaker.  Dale Carnegie’s 19th principle, ‘Appeal to nobler motives,’ reinforces the importance of acting with honesty and integrity at all times.  Everyone has heard the old adage, ‘Honesty is the best policy,’ however when stakes are high such as when trying to land a job, human beings sometimes fib.  The problem—beyond acting unethically, is that the lie can come back to haunt the candidate.  For example, if a hiring manager asks if the candidate has experience working with certain types of software, industrial processes, etc., and the response is yes, the candidate can bet he will have to actually work with it in the future.

Image: Pixabay

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