Editors Note: Kristi Musgrave is a colleague and friend of mine, as well as today’s Guest Blogger. She has oodles of management experience and tells us what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk. Here is some good advice on what NOT to say during an interview.
“You won’t believe this,” he said. “What?” I asked. “We just had a candidate offer to show the hiring manager his gun shot wound.”
Why do people do this? Is it nerves? Do they just not know any better? Why do people share too much or inappropriate information during job interviews?
For the past 10 years I’ve had the opportunity to interview a variety of people and I am still amazed at what they will discuss during an interview. I’ve heard about fights with family members, pets that have died, and mean bosses. I’ve even been asked if I have a prosthetic eye. I don’t by the way.
The purpose of an interview is to assess a candidate’s suitability for a job. A significant part of that assessment will be based on what you say during the interview. Avoid discussing personal information unrelated the position. Discuss your experience, the skills you have that make you well suited for the position, and why you are the best candidate.
Rachel Zupek, a writer for careerbuilder.com offers this advice (you can read the full article here):
Go ahead with the following personal info:
- Goals – It’s OK to talk about what you want in your next assignment and what inspired you to apply for the position.
- Growth – You can and should talk about the things you’ve done up to this point to invest in yourself and your professional development.
- Highlights – Relate the highlights of your greatest professional achievements to date without exaggerating or pontificating.
- Motivations – Talk about what motivates you, excites you, what brought you to that particular industry and what attracted you to that specific employment opportunity.
Do not delve into these personal topics during your interview.
- Lifestyle choices, politics, religion or family plans. Controversial topics may make for stimulating conversation but an attractive employee does not stimulate water-cooler frenzy among the masses.
- Endless name dropping. You can establish that you know some of the same people as the interviewer to build rapport, but don’t think you’re upping the ante by upping the volume.
- Health history. Stay away from your health history mental and otherwise. You’re supposed to be positioning yourself as dependable and reliable; not as a candidate likely to spike the bell curve on benefit-related expenses.
- House problems, nanny drama or rehab trips. Employers don’t want to know much about your life except as it relates to what you’ve done professionally and what you’re likely able to do for them.
- Bosses from hell. Simply put, no prospective boss wants to hear a litany of “boss from hell” stories.
So, unless you’re interviewing for a position as nude model for a sculpting class, discussing your gunshot wound is way too much information for a job interview. Keep your answers professional and focused on your skills and experience as it relates to the position. Good luck at your interview.
Kristi Musgrave is a Senior Validation Engineer with the Validation and Compliance Institute, LLC. She provides cGMP training, validation, and auditing services for the FDA regulated industries. You can reach Kristi at firstname.lastname@example.org