Get Hired Series: What You Say and What They Hear

An insight to what you might be saying wrong to your interviewer

It is common to be nervous during an interview but the perception that the interviewers are trying to trick you is incorrect. They do not have the time or any inclination to fool you. All they want is to assess your abilities and judging by your answers whether you are fit for the job or not.

From the interviewer's perspective, the things you say can be interpreted very differently than you intend.

What you say: My last employer? Was horrible.

What they hear: I lack professionalism. Everyone goes through some difficult times and encounters a bad boss quite often. But no matter what you had gone through NEVER bad mouth your previous employer. This will make you come off as complainer and the prospective employers might side with your old boss assuming that you are difficult to get along with.

What you say: My weakness? I am a perfectionist.

What they hear: I don't have any. This makes you sound as a person who is full of himself. What the interviewer wanted to hear is what kind of a worker you are and how you power through your weaknesses. Take an honest approach and tell him a flaw which you are aware of and what you are doing about it. This will give the interviewer an insight as to what kind of a team player you will be and how you are aware of a problem and you are trying to overcome it.

What you say: I am a highly motivated person and problem solver.

What they hear: I have no special noteworthy abilities or skills. Using a bunch of typical resume words or a list of industry jargon would not get you a job. It can be said by anyone and not proved by all. Seems like you learned it from the internet and you were unable to come up with one skill to tell him about your profession or yourself. Be a bit open and give an honest opinion what you are good at.

What you say: What does this company do?

What they hear: I didn't do research. It is essential that whenever you go for an interview, take some time to briefly research the company. Visit the website which could tell you about what it does and how. Also you could look for employees and get an understanding of the company's background.

What you say: No. I don't have any questions to ask.

What they hear: I am not interested. You can't possibly know everything about the job you are interviewing for, the culture and rules of the company by the end of the interview. When you don't ask, you are showing that you don't care much.

Prepare a few questions of your own (not about vacations!! They make you sound that you are more interesting in getting out than working). Ask about the company and its operations so that you can carry on an engaging conversation it also shows that you are interested.