5 Ways You’re Scaring The Hiring Manager At An Interview

None of us needs to be reminded that a job interview isn’t the place to let your Halloween creativity emerge. Regardless of the time of year, there may be some hidden ways that you’re spooking the hiring manager during an interview. RELATED: 10 Little Things That Make A Big Difference To Hiring Managers


You don’t have a filter

I often hear horrifying stories from people about the toxicity of their work places. I want to scream, “Get out! Get out now!” I work with them on processing the pain and trauma of where they’ve been, and that’s valid and important work. It just doesn’t fit in a job interview. No matter how much bait the hiring manager throws you, dodge every invitation to go negative. It’s like trashing your ex on a first date. People can’t help but wonder what you’ll say about them in a few months’ time.

You’re too desperate

Searching for a job can feel vulnerable. You may think, “I’ll take anything!” and mean it with utter sincerity. Hey, it’s a completely reasonable approach when your bills are piling up and the bites you’re getting on your resume are far and few between. To address that rising panic, look to revamping your resume and getting in front of job postings through networking so that you’re a clear pick when positions open up. If you’re generating multiple possibilities for yourself, each one doesn’t seem quite so critical. You’ll be blasé and relaxed going into an interview when you know you’ve got several other options in the pipeline. If you are walking into an interview and it’s the first one you’ve had in a while (and the only one on the horizon), dial down the pressure with some reassuring words to yourself and a power pose a la Amy Cuddy (see her TED talk for details). Some great phrases that you might use in your own pep talk include:
  • I scored this opportunity, and I can do it again with other companies.
  • This isn’t my only option. I fit into many positions and companies.
  • I’m here to assess and communicate fit, not my own value or worthiness.

You’re focused on what’s in it for you

Of course, you want to know about the salary and benefits. Absolutely let those concerns be your top priority. Just don’t bring these questions up. Salary negotiation 101 says, “The person to name a number first loses.” Don’t be that person even if you’re itching to know it. Don’t ask about time off, working from home, flex scheduling. Your first order of business is to communicate how you can deliver. You’ll have the chance to hash out the details and the fine print later. It can be all about you, but not yet. That part comes when you get the offer. So, be patient and hold off on those questions and concerns.

You take questions too literally

When you’re asked about working with multi-generational teams, there’s a subtext to that question. It’s not just about whether you play nice with everyone. It’s about whether you’ll make a power grab, undermine someone younger (or older) than you, ridicule someone who isn’t syncing with your tech skills. There’s a great deal of unspoken concern in every question that comes your way. When you’re asked a question, consider, “What’s the undercurrent here and how can I address it with the same subtlety that it was asked?”

Your balance is off

Think about how much you’re talking vs. how much the hiring manager or interview team is talking. You should be saying more, but not by much. Look for a 60/40 or 70/30 split with you on the higher side. Here’s where many people go astray:
  • They answer monosyllabically with a simple “yes” or “no” and no elaboration. “Of course” is not a complete answer. Give examples, offer anecdotes. Use the formulas that you’ve learned about interviewing (my personal favorite is CARB: C=Circumstance; A=Action you took; R=Result; B=Benefit to prospective employer). It’ll ground you in staying focused and adding enough detail (but not too much).
  • When people get nervous, they often ramble and forget to check whether they still have the attention of their audience. Their points are lost.
  • They spout answers, but they don’t collect any details about the job and the environment they’re moving toward. It often helps to end a response with a question for the hiring manager, “Have you had similar situations here?” “Does that example sound familiar to you?” “Does that approach differ from yours?”
Don’t add to the spooky Halloween vibe when you head into your interview. These five struggles may derail others, but they don’t need to stop you. With strategy and luck, you’ll be at that job site next year when it’s time for trick-or-treating. This post was originally published at an earlier date. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less