What not to say at an interview

Whenever we send a candidate to an interview with a client we make sure they are fully prepped and ready to go, they know what questions they are going to ask and how to answer what they may be asked.

We’ve been doing this job for a long time (almost 14 years!) and we’ve noticed a trend. In the data and analytics industry, it’s all about the skills. After any interview we always get feedback from our clients, and a lot of the time they mention when a candidate answers a question they focus on their qualifications rather than their skills within a business.

We believe to answer an interview question effectively you need a mix of both qualifications and skills – it’s all about the bigger picture.

So, what answers should you avoid and how can you answer an interview question well.

“Tell me about your career to date”

Don’t: start by listing your CV, telling the interviewer where your career started and where you’re at now. In short don’t list all the places you have worked, that’s what your CV is for.

Do: tell the interviewer about your professional achievements, your proudest moments in previous jobs, the things that drive you to do better and where you see yourself going.

“What are your strengths?”

Don’t: purely mention the skills you have gained from doing a certain qualification or from courses. You can mention this but it needs more behind it.

Do: talk about the skills you have gained BUT how it helps with your personal character and how this has helped you to overcome any issues in the previous role. Have your skills helped you to solve a problem that others have abandoned?

Remember to also think of this question in reverse, what is your biggest weakness?

“Why do you want to work here?”

Don’t: be insincere, an interviewer can tell. Don’t mention the only reason is the great pay package and benefit schemes. In the past we have even heard of a candidate who answered with a shrug and “why not?”, he didn’t get the job.

Do: research the company you’re interviewing with, and show off this knowledge as to why you want to work there. Have they won awards? Are they expanding? How long have they been in business? And remember to show excitement when answering!

“What’s your five year plan?”

Don’t: be vague, or insincere. This is a classic interview question and one that is used to gauge a candidate’s interest and ambition within a company.

Do: talk about your future at the company, talk about a higher position than the one you are in now. There is no harm in aiming high with this question. Use this question to show off your work ethic and ambition.

“How would your current boss describe you?”

Don’t: use the standard response that the interviewer will have heard plenty of times over. “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m reliable” just don’t cut it in interviews any more.

Do: expand on your answer and show why your current boss would use that term. If you say, “I’m a hard worker” give an example why your boss might say this. Use an example that relates to the job you’re interviewing for.

If you are interviewing it is very likely you will be asked these questions or some variant of them. Before going to any interview make sure you consider what you want your answers to be, remember to expand and go into the details, the interviewer wants to see the bigger picture and how capable you are at doing the job. You can never be too prepared for an interview.

How would you answer any of these questions? What’s the worst response you have heard in an interview?

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best Information Management and Data Analytics jobs. For more career advice check out the KDR blog or follow KDR on LinkedIn.

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