WAIT….That’s Not What I MEANT!!!

You have the right resume, you have an interview with the hiring manager, and all looks great for this new job.  There are some commonly misunderstood actions/conversations that can (and do) occur if you’re not prepared.  Moments in (and after) the interview that you thought would be taken as a positive response/action are often times misunderstood.

Let’s go over some of the more common action pitfalls that can easily be avoided, and how you can still get your point across in a more productive way.  This way you won’t be left saying to yourself…WAIT…That’s not what I MEANT!!!

 

 

Action

Show up at a hiring manager’s office after you recently interviewed to reaffirm your interest in the position and your ability to do the job instead of waiting for their call as directed.

How You Meant It

“I am eager to be a proactive problem solver and really think I am the right person for the job.  I should be hired because I am the best man for the job.”

How They Interpreted It

He is not able to follow instructions and he’s too eager.

Recommended Action

During the interview be sure you request the business card of every person you interview with.  This allows you to send each interviewer (especially the hiring manager) an individual “Thank You” email as a follow-up.  Doing this will get your point across that you are interested and eager, without being overly pushy.

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Action

Talking to the hiring manager about the next steps in your career and how this position will certainly help you achieve your goals.

How You Meant It

“This job is in the field I really want to be in and I look forward to learning all that I can in this position to allow me growth potential in the future.”

How They Interpreted It

He is looking to acquire new skills in our training sessions for this position so he can then get a better job at a different company.

Recommended Action

Talking about future growth and learning new skills is a great idea, but be sure to keep the conversation focused on short-term growth goals related to this position, expanding responsibility for this position, and how you will expand your experience.  Try not to jump ahead 2-3 promotions during the interview process.

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Action

Talking about your personal life, hobbies, family, or other extracurricular activities.

How You Meant It

“I am an active and well rounded person. I love learning new things.”

How They Interpreted It

He has so much going on in his personal life that it must be hard for him to be 100% focused on work.  Some of these personal activities might also be a turn-off to the potential hiring manager if he does not approve of some of your personal choices outside of work.

Recommended Action


Avoid talking about your personal life unless directly asked about it. NEVER talk about politics or religion (obviously), and I would caution against talking too much about family, kids, and things of this nature; especially in your 1st interview.  When an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself be sure you tell them about your “Professional Self”.  Career highlights, major projects, and personal professional milestones should be the subject unless the interviewer asks you a direct question about your personal life.

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Action

Criticizing/talking negatively about a former employer or supervisor in an interview.

How You Meant It

“I would like a job with your company because you conduct your business much better than my last employer. This is a better personality match and so we won’t run into problems that I had working for my old boss.”

How They Interpreted It

He is a complainer and likes to blame other people for problems. If he will speak this way about his former employer, we know he will speak this way about us if we disagree about anything.  Better to avoid the potential problem and move on to the next resume.

Recommended Action


Always speak professionally about your former boss/employer.  Even if you have nothing “good” to say about them, it is always recommended to say that you find something positive to talk about.  It is acceptable to tell the interviewer that your previous company was not able to utilize your skills to their fullest potential and you look forward to becoming a valuable asset to this company.  This should get the point across that your last job wasn’t a perfect match, but does so without being directly negative or talking bad about your boss/employer.

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Action

Showing up to an interview WAY too early.

How You Meant It

“I am excited, confident, and prepared for this interview. I am not in the habit of being late.”

How They Interpreted It

You are eager…and desperate.

Recommended Action

Show up for your interview 15-20 minutes before the scheduled interview time.  That doesn’t mean you can’t get to the building earlier than that, but wait in your car, drive around the block a few times, kill some time somehow.  It is proper interviewing etiquette to check in for your interview 15 minutes early, but being there 30-45 minutes early will be looked at as desperation and could negatively affect your salary negotiation process in the future.

These are some of the most common misunderstood moments of interviewing.

So now, on your next interview, you can be more prepared to say what you mean and mean what you say.  I hope these tips help you be confident that the hiring manager will hear it the same way!

2 thoughts on “WAIT….That’s Not What I MEANT!!!

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  2. Here’s another one.
    You know the environment is casual, so you dress to match the environment, and come in dockets and an open shirt.
    You meant to show that you will fit into the environment.
    The manager felt it showed a lack of respect for you to assume that you can dress casually in the interview.
    You can never be overdressed, save a tuxedo or evening gown, for an interview. Choose your best interview business suit. If you don’t have one that fits, go buy one. You can go to K&G and get one for under $100. If the manager offers the chance to take your coat off, do so, but never assume. Remember, you can never afford to make a bad first impression. And you can never avoid making an impression. Make sure it is positive and that you show respect for the individual and the company and the process.

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