You have been invited to interview with a company you are interested in, for an opportunity you would like to find out more about, congratulations! Here is your chance to make a real impression. Here’s how to make sure it is the impression that you want to make! There are numerous blogs and articles on what to say at interview but what about what not to say?
Firstly, remember your interview starts as soon as you walk into the building. The person that greets you or the person who shows you to the interview room might have a say in the hiring process, so don’t make the mistake of being too informal. Start the interview on a positive note, don’t say how difficult the offices were to find or that you thought you were going to be late (this is so often the go-to small talk). The interviewer hears “I didn’t leave enough time to get here and didn’t bother checking out my route/your location in advance” (i.e. they hear that you don’t care and you’re disorganised).
Don’t call the interviewer the wrong name or get the organisation’s name incorrect. It happens and it isn’t a good start!
It is NEVER a good idea to criticise your current or past employer. Quote facts, for example, “The organisation’s director tends to be out of the office three days a week and s/he doesn’t leave sign off permission with anyone else so this slows processes down.” It sounds a lot better than “The boss is always off on holiday but is too much of a control freak to let anyone have responsibility for signing anything off so nothing ever gets done in good time!” Interviewers are thinking, how would we want them to talk about us when they decide they want to move on?
Your interview does not end until you have left the building, same rules apply as the first point. Don’t forget where you are and say to the random person in the lift “Phew, that was a scary interview! Think I managed to blag it though”. The person in the lift could be the interviewer’s team member, a partner or a client.
Simply put, don’t say (or do) anything in an interview that you wouldn’t like be on the receiving end of. If all else fails, imagine your friends and family (or a few million viewers….) watching a recording of the interview akin to the current Channel 4 documentary “The Job Interview” http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-job-interview. That should keep you on the right side of professionalism!