Do We Celebrate Columbus Day? 3 Topics To Avoid At Your Next Interview

We’ve all been asked them…

They’re those absurd questions interviewer’s feel are a deep insight to your inner being…

If you were a candy, what type of candy would you be?

 Why the importance of your favorite fruit has any correlation with your ability to be a hard-working employee is beyond me, but these are the things that happen when you’re at the mercy of the interviewer.  My personal favorite is, “What is your biggest weakness?”  Does the interviewer really think they’re going to get a sincere answer?  

As a college student, the unfortunate reality is that you have not had a tremendous amount of interviewing experience up to this point.  As you gain more experience, you will quickly realize that interviewing is a skill that takes time and practice, just as anything else in life.   While it may be frustrating for you to answer questions that seem idiotic, it’s going to be equally frustrating for the employer if you venture into certain subjects.  At the end of the day, you don’t want to frustrate the employer.  Below we’ve put together a few talking points that you should try your hardest to avoid during your next interview.  


1.  Salary

With the current market, many employers may begin asking what your salary requirements are because they want to find the person who is willing to do the most work for the least reward.  If the interviewer does not specifically discuss salary, don’t bring it up.  You can always discuss salary once you’ve been hired and you have some more leverage, but always let them initiate that discussion.  If you are asked your salary requirements, be honest.  Don’t try and low ball the employer because you may end up in a job where you are overqualified and miserable.  At the same time, if you are a recent graduate, please don’t expect to make $100,000.  Be realistic.  


2.  Politics

A friend of mine had an interview a few weeks ago where the employer asked him if he “liked President Obama?”  Now, this could go very bad, very quickly, but luckily for my friend, the two shared similar political beliefs.  Many college students with degrees in political science and/or government affairs may be tempted to display their political genius by discussing elections, candidates or politics in general.  Don’t make your interview a political discussion because it will limit the time you have to talk about yourself and you may ultimately offend the interviewer.


3.  Unnecessary Personal Issues

While it is normal to discuss certain topics outside the confines of the job, it is not suggested that you start talking about extremely personal issues (family, social life, health, etc…).  If these issues are discussed by the interviewer then entertain the question; however, do not continually drag your interviewer off topic with irrelevant personal comments.  You can discuss family life, hometown, etc…, but try and leave it at that.  


All three of these are areas where we have personally seen clients negatively affect their chances of being hired.  If you are asked to discuss any of these areas, do so with tact and move on.  As we always mention, the interview is an opportunity to give the employer an idea of what type of employee you would be.  It’s not a chance to make a new friend.  Take the hard questions as they come and make sure to keep your filter ON at all times.


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