When you need a job, it’s easy to become pretty desperate pretty quickly. Especially if you’ve been made redundant and have suddenly found that you need another job pronto, you’ll say anything to get the job they want. However, chances are your interviewer can see through what you’re trying to jazz up. Everyone tells white lies in interviews because they’re not technically lies…right?
‘I’m a people person’
When a prospective employee comes out with this, it might actually mean that they don’t stop talking. If someone’s a ‘people person’, it can mean really positive things, but on the other hand, it may mean that they just enjoy spending company time by talking and doing little to no work.
‘I’m always keen to keep learning as much as possible’
Does this mean that the employee wants to work their way up the promotion ladder as soon as they join the company? Are they just looking to take the job at the soonest chance they get? Possibly not. A lot of young people need to keep learning otherwise they’ll stagnate their careers for the next fifty or so years.
However, if you’re a little over-qualified for the position you’re applying for and you’re using phrases such as: ‘I want to keep learning’, ‘I want to progress in my role’ and ‘what’s progression like at this company?’ – It’s a total red flag!
‘I’m used to working to tight deadlines’
This again is a phrase that, depending on the candidate’s job history, may be relevant to the role in question and is perfectly fine to hear. However, why is this person ‘used to meeting tight deadlines’ if that’s not the nature of their previous job? Are they perhaps a serial procrastinator who may prove to be a problem in the long run? You may be asked to share an example of a tight deadline you had to meet in your previous job.
‘My interests include watching films and reading. I also have a keen interest in brand awareness’
Okay, let’s decipher this one. This is more of a company culture question anyway rather than showcasing an employee’s skill.
- Watching films = probably Netflix and various DVD binges. Who doesn’t do that these days?
- Reading = Does the candidate mean Buzzfeed articles and Reddit? Or do they mean that they have a favourite author?
- Brand awareness = They’re probably addicted to online shopping.
None of these ‘true answers’ are not bad or show the employee to be a possible bad hire. Just look out for what you really mean when you might just be trying to come across as more cultured than you actually are. The question ‘what are you interests?’ always makes candidates panic as if they have to come up with really impressive stuff.
‘I’m a perfectionist’
Okay, so this answer was probably to the dreaded ‘what’s your weakness’ question. A lot of candidates find this answer to be the ‘go-to’ because it doesn’t impact on them negatively. A perfectionist in the workplace is fabulous, right? Wrong! ‘Perfectionist’ may be code for ‘tedious’, ‘lazy’ or ‘I take ages to get things done’. A good way to get round this answer is to expand on it by explaining why you’re a perfectionist and what elements of the job require your perfectionism.
‘I’m a natural leader’
Can you give an example of when you had to step up at work and show off your natural leadership skills, or were you just unnecessarily bossing people about? Being a leader isn’t a good thing if nobody wants or needs that person to be one. Do you dominate meetings or take control of situations that don’t concern you? This could be a red flag!
Interviews can be awkward, embarrassing and easy to make mistakes in. However, if you can give a relevant example to all (if not most) of your answers then you’re probably okay. Interviewers hear these answers over and over again, so it’s more about avoiding clichés than fibbing in an interview. If the cliché answer is the truth, then try to phrase it differently, otherwise you may just end up sounding like everyone else.