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Episode #33 – What Candidates Should Not Say During the Interview

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #33 - What Candidates Should Not Say During the Interview

What Candidates Should Not Say During the Interview


Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.


In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the face-to-face interview. Specifically, we’ll be discussing what job candidates should not say during the job interview. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.


Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.


Sharita: Stacy, we’ve talked about the job interview before, but you wanted to come back to this topic again. Why is that?


Stacy: Well, because the face-to-face interview is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. This is where a job seeker or candidate can make the most impact with an organization. However, that impact can be positive or negative in nature. You could either “hit a home run” or you could “strike out.” That’s why it’s so important for professionals to conduct themselves in the correct way.


Sharita: What aspects of the interview will we be exploring today?


Stacy: We’re going to discuss some specific things that Animal Health and Veterinary professionals should not say during the interview.


Sharita: These are things that will hurt their candidacy, is that correct?


Stacy: That’s right. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The number-one goal of the face-to-face interview is to secure a job offer of employment. That means everything you say should be for the purpose of securing a job offer. That’s why you should avoid saying things that do not support that purpose. In essence, if what you say doesn’t help you get closer to a job offer, then you shouldn’t say it, period.


Sharita: What are some of those things?


Stacy: I’m going to present three categories of things that candidates should not say during the interview. The first category contains instances in which candidates ask questions about things they should not ask about until after they receive an offer. However, some candidates ask these questions during the interview, before they’ve even received an offer. This is definitely “putting the cart before the horse.” And I can tell you without a doubt that if you ask these questions before receiving an offer, then you more than likely will NOT receive anything.


Sharita: What are some of these questions?


Stacy: There are five main questions that candidates ask that they should not ask during the interview. Those five questions involve:


  • The company’s vacation policy
  • How much the job pays
  • The benefits and perks associated with the job
  • How much schedule flexibility the job has
  • Whether or not the person can work from home

If a candidate asks a question about any of these topics, it represents a big red flag to a hiring authority. It will diminish the person’s candidacy immediately.


Sharita: Stacy, why do you think that candidates ask questions such as these during the interview?


Stacy: These candidates are focused on the wrong things. Specifically, they’re thinking about themselves and what they’ll get if the company hires them. That is the wrong mindset to have for the interview.


Sharita: What should candidates be focusing on?


Stacy: Candidates should focus on the potential value that they could bring to the organization as an employee. That should be first and foremost in their mind. That’s because, from the employer’s perspective, it’s the whole point of the interview in the first place. The hiring manager is attempting to figure out what value the candidate can provide for the organization. Not only that, but the hiring manager also wants to know how much value and how quickly the candidate can start providing that value if they were hired and became an employee.


Sharita: What are some other things that candidates should not say during the interview?


Stacy: Well, now I’m going to address things that fall into our second category, which is negativity. This is negativity concerning candidates’ current employment situation.


Sharita: You mean speaking negatively about their current job?


Stacy: Yes, but not just their current job. Candidates not only talk badly about their job, but they also speak in negative terms about their boss and their employer. Even if they’re in a bad situation, candidates should refrain from saying things like this during an interview.


Sharita: Because that’s going to put doubt in the hiring manager’s mind?


Stacy: It absolutely will. If the hiring manager hears you say that you dislike your job or your boss or your current employer, they’re going to wonder if you’ll eventually feel the same way about their organization if they hire you. Even if that would not be the case if you were hired, they’re still going to wonder about it. And if they have to wonder, it means that you just disqualified yourself.


Sharita: Are there other things that candidates shouldn’t say that fall into the negative category?


Stacy: There are. Something else you shouldn’t say is that you really need the job. Once again, even if that’s the case, there’s no reason to communicate that to the people who are interviewing you. It comes across as desperate. Employers want to hire people who sound confident, not those who sound desperate.


You should also not say that you’re not 100% excited about the job.


Sharita: Candidates actually say that?


Stacy: Yes, in instances where they think the job is a lateral move or just a stepping stone to somewhere else. Employers do not want to hire candidates who view their open position in that manner.


Sharita: What other negative things do candidates say or that come across as being negative?


Stacy: Well, perhaps one of the biggest negative things that a candidate can do is swear or use profanity during the interview. You might think that you’re “breaking the ice,” but the only thing you’re breaking is your chance to get hired. It is imperative that you’re professional. Remember, you’re trying to convince the hiring manager to give you an offer of employment.


Candidates also say something that they believe is positive, when in actuality, it’s just the opposite.


Sharita: What’s that?


Stacy: When asked about their weaknesses, they say, ‘My weakness is that I’m a perfectionist’ or ‘My weakness is that I’m a workaholic’ or something along those lines. The hiring manager is not going to form a positive perception if you say these things. They’re not going to think that you have no weaknesses or be wowed by how clever you are.


Sharita: There are certainly a lot of things that candidates can say that will derail their candidacy.


Stacy: There are! And we still have more. The final things that we’ll be discussing fall into a third category. The first category are things you shouldn’t address until after a jo offer has been made, not before. The second category are things that are negative in nature. And the third category are things that make you look clueless.


First, don’t admit that you don’t know anything about the organization or what it does. You should thoroughly research the company before the interview. Hiring officials are going to expect that you’ve done your homework. If they find out that you haven’t, then you won’t be receiving an offer.


Next, do not say “I don’t know.” Even if you don’t know the answer to a question, this does not cast you in a positive light. Instead, ask for some clarification or an example as you formulate a response.


Also, do not answer a question with “It’s on my resume.” The interviewer knows that it’s on your resume. They’re asking you a question because they want you to answer it, and they’re assuming that you’re aware of that. Saying “It’s on my resume” can make you look lazy and clueless, and that’s not a good combination for an interview.


In addition, do not apologize for arriving late or for having to leave early, because you should not have to arrive late or leave early. You should allow plenty of time in your schedule for the interview. If a true personal emergency arises, then of course, that’s perfectly acceptable. However, you should communicate that to the proper personnel at the company. They should know that there’s a legitimate excuse for you being late to the interview or leaving it early.


Sharita: What’s the biggest thing that a candidate could say to make them look clueless?


Stacy: That would be saying that you have no questions at all for the interviewers. I’ve said this before, but the interview is not a one-way street. As a candidate for the position, you must have questions, and not just because you want to look interested in the job. You have to decide whether or not the position is a good fit for you. Changing jobs, including within the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession, is a major event in a person’s life. You should be completely invested in the decision and willing to uncover whatever information is important so that you can make a sound, informed decision.


Sharita: That’s because you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you, is that right?


Stacy: That’s right. You have to feel comfortable with the organization and the opportunity. If you don’t, then there’s no reason to work there.


Sharita: I know we’ve covered a lot of ground here, but is there anything else that professionals should not say during the interview?


Stacy: Yes. One more thing I’d like to mention is interrupting the people who are conducting the interview. You should absolutely not do this. It’s something that happens more than you might think. It’s even happened with top candidates during their final interview, and it sunk their chances. That’s because the hiring manager thought to themselves that if the candidate would interrupt them, then there was a good chance that they would interrupt their customers, as well.


So do not interrupt anyone during the interview. Before you speak, make sure that you know it’s your turn to do so.


Sharita: Stacy, thanks once again for sharing all of this great information with us today.


Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!

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