Your first job interview with a potential employer is a true test of watching what you say and how you say it. The employer tries to get a sense of who you are and what your work ethic is all about, so everything you say is open to interpretation. Nothing will derail your chances of moving on to a second interview faster than saying something with a hidden meaning. What do I mean? Check out the following examples of what NOT to say in your first interview:
"I'm a bit nervous about driving in the city."
What they hear: I want this job but I'm not sure I can handle the stress of the city.
What you should say: "I'm excited about working in the city!"
"I'm planning to start a family as soon as possible. What's your policy on maternity leave?"
What they hear: I might only be here for a few months before I take off a big chunk of time. Will I get paid for it?
What you should say: Nothing. Don't bring it up until after you're hired!
"Would my health insurance cover diabetes?"
What they hear: I have diabetes. (Find out why this is bad here.)
What you should say: "I hear you offer great health insurance; I look forward to hearing about it at the next interview."
"I need to work from home twice a week."
What they hear: I have other obligations that will take priority over this job.
What you should say: Nothing. Save your work-from-home demands until you have a job offer, which is when you can negotiate employment terms.
"What's the available salary range for this position?"
What they hear: Money is all that matters to me.
What you should say: Nothing. Always let them bring it up first!
"I really need this job."
What they hear: I really, really, really need this job. Come on, I'm desperate!
What you should say: "This sounds like my ideal job, I'm very interested in coming back for a second interview, if needed."
Second and third interviews are a lot more flexible when it comes to topics of discussion. Wait until they're interested enough to hire you before you bring up things like benefits and salary!
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