You don’t say!

24 Nov

I just had a recent experience in an interview in which a candidate basically trash-talked (ok, slight exaggeration) a program that got him that very interview.

He had a prior internship with my company and was applying to a full-time permanent position. On his resume he had listed a program that my company had created to keep “high-potentials” together and notify them of any entry-level positions. Since I’m currently working in Germany from the US, I hadn’t known about this program so I asked him what it was (so I could also hear his own words describing it). Basically, the program had fizzled but instead of being positive about being picked for it, he basically said (in not so many words) it was useless and didn’t really help him. Even though a contact in that group had gotten him to this particular interview. This incident completely rubbed the hiring manager wrong and it was brought up in the post-interview discussion. This candidate is not going to be offered the job.

Moral of the story: Never put anything in a negative light whether it be a past boss or present position. In this case, he spoke negatively about a program at the very company he was interviewing at! Even if you did not have the best experience in a prior position, you can mention that you wish you had learned more and then try to highlight atleast one positive aspect even if you don’t have much to say. The worst thing you can do it speak even slightly negatively about a prior manager. It just plain makes you look bad. You can speak about how your manager’s personality was different and what steps you took to resolve it. But never throw out something like “Yeah, my manager sucked. All he ever told me was to get his coffee and to make a lot of copies.”

So recent grads and others out there, definitely watch what you say in an interview. It can and will be held against you.

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