The Bagg Group On What Not to Say to An Interviewer


Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Here’s some hard-hitting advice to help candidates who meet with recruiters and hiring managers for full-time work, contract work or temporary placement.

Do not treat your interviewer like a therapist.

All Bagg Group recruiters know that every person truly wants to succeed at their work. And we know that it’s hard when you hit twists and turns on your career path.  To be in the wrong job, or without a job, can be very stressful.

But your interviewer is not the person to confide in about your stress, your disappointments, and your struggles.  Although it can seem sometimes as if they are inviting you to share your life story, take our expert advice and don’t do it.

It’s easy to be tempted.  After all, you are in a one-on-one private meeting, with a person who is dedicating their time and attention to finding out about you. The urge to unburden yourself of your fears, financial problems, past mistakes, and injustices can be strong.

Next thing you know, you aren’t talking to the interviewer about your strengths, but about your weaknesses.  Instead of sharing your achievements, you’re sharing your problems. Rather than focus on what you can contribute to their team, you talk about unfairness you suffered on former teams.

When that happens, the interviewer may have reason to sympathize with you, but not reason to hire you. They may genuinely wish you well, but what you want is a job, not good wishes.  

When you look at it from their perspective, you’ll see that it’s difficult to hire someone who comes off as sad or angry.  If you had to choose between two candidates of similar experience and skills, would you pick the one who spent much of the interview detailing their problems and dramas? Or would you go with the upbeat person who talked positively about their experience, and focused on your company and what they could do for you. 

And consider this:  A 2010 study from Harvard University, published in the British Medical Journal, found that happiness and sadness, like the flu bug, is infectious.  But that sadness spreads at a faster rate than happiness.

The study shows that when you’re unhappy, you quickly bring down others. You are not doing the interviewer any favour by bringing your despair or frustration into their office.

Sharing your misery can leave the interviewer feeling unsettled or upset.  That pretty much rules out the likelihood that they will leap to hire you.

On the other hand, those who project a positive feeling energize people.   Psychologist Martin Seligman said when people smile and laugh easily, others get on their “same wave-length which makes them work together more effectively.”

At The Bagg Group, we have placed more than 57,000 people with the best companies in the GTA in the past 40 years.  That’s why we know what we’re talking about when we say if you want to join the ranks of the happy people we’ve placed, leave your worries and anger behind when you walk into your interview.

Your interviewer will enjoy the meeting a lot more, and you may find you do too.

Comments are closed.