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Communication during job interviews

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"No man ever listened himself out of a job." Calvin Coolidge 

Is there anyone among us who hasnít at least once said something that he don't intend to say during the job interview? Or, worse, gave up information that you did not intended to disclose. If so you need to work on this aspect of your communications.

Periodically rereading this page might help. Buying a good book on the subject can help too. Actually we all need to do this. Naturally this ability is very rare and often is observed among professional or "natural" diplomats. All others need special training. 

The first and simplest rule here is that silence is gold. Answer question but do not volunteer to much information, especially if it can be used against you. Never say anything negative about your former employment, no matter how painful it was.

There is no reason to rush any reply when you are taking with anybody, but especially if you start suspecting that you are dealing with a corporate psychopath. This is actually not a talk. It is a mixture of interrogation with provocation and you need to be vigilant against dirty tricks.

The following five point test permits to avoid the trivial errors. To get used to it you might wish to assign each question to a finger and close fingers one by one as you check them.

  1. [Deflection test] Should you defect the question as inappropriate.
  2. [Pause test] Did you made a proper pause (10 seconds is minimum). In response needed at all ? (silence is gold). If needed if can you ask to release the question to ensure you understand it correctly and to have time to prepare for the answer (Stanislavski used to say "the greater the artists the greater the pause" ;-)
  3. [Negative politeness test] Is your response non-confrontational? Does it contain sarcasm, "always/never" language. Do not try to communicate your emotional state. It does not matter.
  4. [Factuality test] Are you trying to communicate the facts and only the facts? Convey only one thought in each sentence. Do not provide extra information as it often can serve as ammunition against you.
  5. [Information leakage test] Do you volunteer sensitive information to the psychopath. Psychopaths are great in playing weak spots and provoking you to be frank. Never do this. People have moments of weakness communicating with a psychopath (Stockholm syndrome ?) and in such moment can tell the other party things about which they can regret for a long time. Think about psychopath as other, evil specie of humans: they really are.

Extended list

A helpful tip that simplifies communication with corporate psychopath is to imagine yourself in torture camera with an inquisitor presiding questioning you. It's actually pretty close analogy as he/she is you boss and being a sadist enjoy inflicting pain. Other useful analogy that can help is deposition in a court. Here you can find several useful links on the Internet. You can also try to imitate a robot -- that a very good counter play against corporate psychopath because he is also a robot that assumed human mask -- everything is false in him/her, emotions, statement of qualification, facts of biography he/she carefully reveled, etc.

  1. Listen carefully to every question and make a pause before the answer. Always (I mean always !) pause 5 or 10 seconds before answering, make sure you understand the question, think it over, and only then try to answer; then be direct with your answer. Those 5-10 seconds can save you from a lot of troubles.
  2. Short answers are the best. Do not offer any information you more than asked of you. Answer only the question asked of you, and then stop talking. Do not add any commentary. One of the oldest (and most effective) techniques is, once you've given your answer, the lawyer looks at you as if to say: "Keep talking." Do not fall into this trap. Just look back at him calmly and politely as if to say: "I am waiting on you to ask another question."
  3. Systematically use pause before an answer to weight and reassess your options. Do not jump to answer or reply to anything. Do not attempt to be smooth. This is not a conversation. You might use you watches to ensure proper pause before an answer or to keep silence and back off if you speak too much.
  4. Be very polite and very formal, practice negative politeness. Always say: "Yes, sir," or "No, ma'am," ....
  5. Never argue, just state the facts. Avoid Absolute Words. You are well advised to avoid, where possible, absolute words such as "always" and "never." Absolute words are an invitation to additional questions: never say "never"...
  6. Don't elaborate or volunteer any information. Volunteering information can be one of the biggest mistakes an expert makes at deposition. Generally, an expert should answer only the questions she is asked and not volunteer information. The volunteering of information will almost always result in new lines of cross-examination. It may also disclose information to which counsel otherwise never would have become privy.
  7. Do not, for any reason, exhibit hostile feelings or aggression towards corporate psychopath.
  8. Do not tell jokes or say anything sarcastic...
  9. Keep your composure, maintain your focus and your credibility. Ignore emotional tantrums from psychopath as they are usually carefully planned provocations. They are provocations and are aimed squarely to get you out of balance so that you make a mistake or blunder.
  10. Ask for a break, or ask permission to bring coffee if you feel the need to expend some emotion or situation got out of control



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Top 10 Things Not to Say In a Job Interview

There are some things that you should not say during a job interview, regardless of how much you would like to share your opinion with the interviewer. Because there are so many candidates for just about every job opening, saying the wrong thing just makes it easier for the hiring manager to reject your candidacy.

You usually won't get a second chance once you have made a mistake and said something inappropriate or something that will make the interviewer think twice about hiring you. Here's a quick list of what not to verbalize in a job interview.

Top 10 Things Not to Say In a Job Interview

How much does this job pay? Don't be the first to bring up salary, if you can help it. Mentioning pay can send the message that all you are after is money, an especially grave sin at the first meeting.

My boss was incompetent, a jerk, an idiot or anything else disparaging. Prospective employers will likely side with your current or previous supervisor and assume you will be difficult to manage.

Saying I'll have your job when asked where you see yourself five years from now. Displaying confidence is a good thing, but overly cocky statements will not endear you to interviewers.

I hate my job, perhaps in response to a question like why are you applying for a new position. A better approach is to emphasize why the new position is appealing and, when reflecting on your current job, to emphasize what you have learned and skills you have developed.

You look great. Avoid any comments that could be interpreted as flirtatious no matter how stunning your interviewer appears.

I'm not aware of any weaknesses when asked to share some shortcomings. Always be prepared to communicate some weaknesses; just make sure the quality is not central to the job. Sharing a historical weakness that you have worked towards improving can be an effective strategy.

Why have earnings slumped at your company during the past two quarters? A better angle would be to stay clear of anything sounding negative. Rather, frame your question more neutrally. For example: "In your view what are some of the biggest challenges which your company faces at this juncture"?

Can I work from home or how much vacation would I get? Save these types of questions until after you have been offered a position or the employer might question your motivation or work ethic.

You'll regret it if you don't hire me, I'm the most qualified. You can't possibly know this unless you have met and evaluated all the other candidates. Overconfidence is a real turn off to employers.

I don't have any questions for you. Prepare some questions to ask that build upon your company research or something which your interviewer has shared with you. Another approach is to ask the interviewer a question about their experience with the organization, such as: "What do you enjoy most about working at ABC company"?

Read More: Questions To Ask During a Job Interview | Questions Not to Ask During a Job Interview | Worst Interview Answers

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