We’ve heard press and pundits over the years declare a candidate’s race for the job over – often after a ‘one-liner’ or a paragraph where they say something either too vague or too stupid for the populous to give them a second chance.
Guess what? It happens all the time in interviews too. You’d like to believe that your 10 or 20 year career is full of relevant success stories, of ‘diving catches’ and great accomplishment. And it probably is or you wouldn’t have gotten very far in an interview process.
But too often, there’s a sentence that comes out of a candidate’s mouth that’s well, jaw dropping!
Whether that’s embellishing on working at home as the gal sitting next to me did on the plane today—saying she loves working at home because she can care for the kids when they are sick (huh? How is that working?) or the ‘dodge’ as we like to call it when a candidate is asked “what do you think of our product|service|UI|offering?” More times than not, the hiring team thinks it sucks and that’s why they are looking for you to offer a real critique. But instead, you decide to go with “it’s pretty good.” And with that, game over. Other candidate wins.
Examples are too numerous to mention, including: “I have another two years to go before I retire.” “I am looking for a work / life balance.” “How often do I need to come into the office?”
Perhaps it is unfair but there’s rarely a ‘do over’ in the interview process. Unlike the political campaign, no amount of PR or spin control is going to help once you let one of these gems drop.