Why are you leaving your current job?*
“I was fired from my last job because they were forcing me to attend anger management classes.”
Why should we hire you?
“How big do the bonuses really get once you make associate? I hear it’s some serious cash.”
Do you have any questions?
“If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?”
People can say the darnedest things. Is it nerves? Is it trying too hard? Is it a reflection of just being kind of awkward in high-stakes situations? Well, it might be any of those, depending on the person. The explanation doesn’t matter. These answers are DROP-DEAD DEAL-BREAKERS!
I interview candidates every day. Sometimes really skilled people (apparently-good fit to what we need in a job) appear to assume, ‘I know I’m good at what I do. It doesn’t matter exactly what I say; they’re going to be impressed by what I’ve done and who I am.’ We start the conversation, usually a phone screen, and they seem to bend down, try to stick their foot right in their mouth; pretty soon, the conversation is over.
So what’s happening with these folks who do not get the call backs when ‘I thought I did great?’ They need to formulate their message, they need to develop their story, they need to think about how best to describe themselves.
So what’s the cure? How to avoid situations where you say to yourself, ‘Oh NO, wish I had that one back!’
Skillful interviewees know the secret: PREPARATION. Here’s an example from the Interview Doctor’s Most Frequently Asked Questions and a framework for an answer.
Why are you leaving your present position? OR Why did you leave your last position? OR Why haven’t you obtained a job so far? [Be careful how you word this. Do NOT talk about how difficult it has been for you to find a job, or how you hated your last company. Keep your response positive about your future career plans.]
Write out your answer; practice with a friend or coach, and then practice again!
Is there anything else I should know about you?
“You should probably know I mud wrestle on the weekends.”
*Full disclosure – I try to forget stupid responses. Those cited in this blog I found here: 43 Weird Things Said in Job Interviews.