7 habits that will kill your next job interview

October 11, 2016 By Dana Manciagli

So many of my clients and readers say, “I aced the interview, but I don’t know why I didn’t get a call for the next round.” Well, I guess you didn’t ace the interview, did you?

Sometimes you do well but they go with another candidate for a variety of other reasons. But having said that, it is also possible that you made some interview bloopers.

thumbdownWhen you’re aiming to nail the big job interview, how you speak is as important as how you look. You’ve got the impressive résumé, solid references, and a professional outfit. But careless language could jeopardize your chance of landing that plum job.

Interview expert Darlene Price offers some insight about the seven common habits that can keep you from truly acing that interview:

1. Too much information

Avoid talking too much during the interview. In the business world, time is money. Bosses value employees who speak in a clear, concise manner. By all means, be interesting and use a personable enthusiastic voice, but avoid rambling. Get to the bottom line quickly.

As a general rule, keep your answers under two minutes. This habit not only shows you’re well prepared and succinct, it also allows time for the interviewer to ask more questions and get to know you better.

2. Not tooting your own horn

You can bet the candidates before and after you are selling themselves, so be sure you articulate your value. The primary purpose of a job interview is for the interviewer to fully understand your capabilities and professional worth. Are you a good fit for this position?

Don’t depend on a résumé or references to speak for you. Sell yourself. With every answer, show a direct correlation between your skills and the job requirements. End the interview by saying, “Thank you for your consideration of me for this role. I’m confident I will meet and exceed your expectations.”

3. Sounding unprepared

“Uh…wow…that’s a great question. Hmmm…(throat clear), I haven’t really thought about that. Let’s see, um, what are my strengths?” You can almost hear the interviewer thinking, “Next!”

Anticipate likely interview questions. Craft your answers and be sure to rehearse them aloud. Practice at least three to five times prior to the interview, ideally to another person who can provide feedback. Record a few rehearsals. Listen to them, time your responses, and tweak your answers.

Practice helps ensure you sound prepared, professional, and polished. Plus, being prepared is the very best way to minimize nerves and anxiety.

4. Badmouthing others

Nothing tanks an interview faster than making negative comments about a previous employer and having the interviewer perceive “sour grapes.” In addition to assessing capabilities, the interviewer is also assessing if you would be a good fit within the company culture, which usually seeks to provide a pleasant and positive work environment for employees.

Avoid pessimism and negativity. Use language that conveys a positive attitude, camaraderie, and helpfulness.

5. Using weak words and phrases

There are many common culprits when it comes to weak words, and a few to keep in mind are:

  • I might
  • I’ll try
  • Maybe
  • Kind of
  • Sort of

Replace these hesitant, unconvincing words with power phrases such as:

  • I can
  • I recommend
  • My track record shows
  • I’m confident that

For example, you can say, “I bring 15 years experience in marketing, where I increased sales by 30 percent,” instead of saying, “I bring a lot of experience in marketing, where I tried to increase sales.”

6. Not asking questions

During an interview, your questions say as much about you as your answers. When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” Never say, “No.” This implies a lack of confidence, preparation, or interest — none of which is appropriate for a job interview.

Craft at least three to five open-ended genuine questions (not generic) about the industry, company, and position. Do your research ahead of time. Don’t ask, “What exactly does this company do?” Ask, “As the No. 1 leader in the biotech industry with eight divisions worldwide, how would you describe this company’s management style and the type of employee who makes a good fit?”

An interview is a two-way street, and your questions help ensure there’s a healthy flow of conversation. As a general rule, avoid asking about salary, benefits or perks until the interviewer raises the topic.

7. Admitting you were fired from your last job

While you never want to tell a lie during a job interview, you do want to tactfully explain why you left the company (or were asked to leave).

For example, “I enjoyed my last job very much and believed in the people and products that represented the company. My boss and I held very different convictions when it came to the importance of quality and customer service. It soon became clear to both of us that I would be happier in a new role – like this one.”

Then you can transition into talking about the company where you’re applying. Using positive language, explain why you left. Then redirect the focus of the interview back to why you’re right for the job.

Dana Manciagli is a global career expert, private job search coach, and master class instructor. She has spent more than 30 years as a Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive, including more than a decade at Microsoft. Manciagli is the author of the book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” and a prolific blogger. She sits on the worldwide board of Junior Achievement and has her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

The original article can be found at the Nashville Business Journal.

Starting a Summer Internship? Here’s Advice You Haven’t Heard Before

Starting a Summer Internship? Here’s Advice You Haven’t Heard BeforeShow up on time. Ask smart questions. Have a can-do attitude. All good internship advice that you’ve likely heard before. There’s no question that summer internships can be the gateway to future employment: a new survey from Looksharp confirms that internships increase your chances of early career success. And, since demand for internships is greater than supply, you have to prove you’re among the best and the brightest.

But to really stand out this summer, you need to go more than the extra mile. If you’re looking to parlay that internship into a full-time offer, or even just a solid resume builder, the advice below will separate you from the intern pack. (And if you’re managing an intern this summer, last week I shared advice for you!)

Find What Needs to Be Done and Do It

“Find the work that needs doing and do it. Make yourself indispensable. Do they need help with Snapchat, scheduling tweets, setting up interviews? Do that. Every time someone says, ‘We should do…’  that’s your cue to do more work if it’s within reach. … Try to wiggle your way into a larger project in the first two weeks. This might be something you pitch, or something someone else is working on. If your boss says yes, you’ll probably have to use your own time. Just for now. You can work on work-life balance next year.” —  Read more at Poynter.org.

Show Your Potential

“Here’s what you need to remember: Showing potential doesn’t mean lobbying to get only high-profile assignments and it also doesn’t mean being perfect. Do everything you’re asked to do well (trivial or not), ask questions when you need help, and through it all, show that you’re excited to keep learning and doing more. Over the course of your internship, you want your employer to see that you’re able to keep growing, learning, and taking on new things.” —  Read more at The Muse.com.

Network Horizontally, Not Just Vertically

My advice? It’s a big mistake to only network up, as I shared in this Forbes article. Network horizontally with the people you’re working with, too. That includes fellow interns as well as other junior staffers. —  Read more at Forbes.com.

Add Value for the Company, Which Will Be Valuable for You

“Research the roles and people you work for; this will give you an idea of how you can be of great value and help them. If your boss is a marketing director, come up with marketing strategies that would reach your target demo in college if your company is trying to reach people your age. If you want to be a publicist, attend as many events as you can where you can network with other media publications that could be important to the publicist like red carpets and music conferences. Even if it’s meeting another intern at that company, spend the time to make those connections for future clients.”  —  Read more at Third Floor Network.

Finally, Do This Before You Leave

“Most importantly, make sure you have an opportunity to share feedback. Ask your supervisor what you did well and how you can improve. This summer, my supervisor asked me to think about five things I learned; three things I wish I had done; and two challenges for my exit interview. This is a great framework to use, because it can help you put your entire experience in context, and it might help in your next interview. It’s also valuable for your employer, because your feedback will help them shape future internship experiences.” —  Read more at Huffington Post.

Interns, what are you looking forward to this summer? What are you nervous about? I’d love to hear your take in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

Save the Date for Career Day!


Wednesday, October 26th
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Maddox Grand Atrium

Meet representatives from 50+ companies recruiting for internships and full-time professional positions!

Click HERE for more details and a full list of Registered Employers

For questions about how to prepare, contact us:

Intern Spotlight: Kylee Smith


Twitter: @kyleexann
Instagram: @kyleeann

  1. What are you/did you intern what are/were you responsibilities/projects?

“I am interning at Time Warner Cable Sports Channel where I am a sports media production assistant. What is great about my internship is that it is half media production and half sports business production. This means that in the office I am working on everything that goes into a production. This includes who is working camera, graphics, replay, etc. as well as where are we shooting this event, who is involved and arranging everything. Then when the event actually happens, I am able to see my work in the office actually in action. I help set up the production as well as take down. In addition, during a production I am shadowing every position learning a little about every position.”

  1. After a long week at your internship, what do/did you like to do to rejuvenate yourself?

“On the weekends I like to explore the city. Living in a new city, there is so much to do and see. Since I am only here for two months, I like to try new restaurants, meet new people, and explore Uptown with my roommate!”