According to a study by Career Sidekick, the beginning of the year is the best time of year to look for a new job.
But in 2017, actually landing that job is perhaps harder than ever. That’s why we decided to lock Mamamia’s HR advisor, Nicolle Stuart, in a small room and harass her about the art of nailing a job interview.
We’ve all been given official warnings, but it was so worth it.
Here’s what Nicolle had to say on this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
We wanted to know the worst things Nicolle had heard in a job interview, from bad questions to awkward confessions. Here are the top four.
1. “When will I get promoted?”
When it comes to asking questions at the end of a job interview, Nicolle says you should always have one prepared. Her advice is to use your question to demonstrate how much you know about the business, and how eager you are to solve problems.
But one of the worst questions she’s come across interviewing applicants is; “So, when will I get promoted?”
“The interviewer will just think that you’re basically want to jump to the next opportunity before you actually master the job you’re in,” she says.
With such enormous resources going into training people, “you want someone who wants to be there, and in that job for at least 18 months.”
According to Nicolle, Millennials are the worst culprits. "They actually do that on their first day of the job," she says.
Another faux pas is eagerly inquiring "What does that team do? That team sounds really interesting." When Nicolle hears this, she begins to worry that the applicant isn't focused enough on the specific role they're applying for, and are using it as a springboard to pursue something else as quickly as possible.
Instead, she advises an interviewee ask; "Are there opportunities here for me to progress?" After all, progression isn't always a promotion. It shows you're driven and ambitious, but not distracted from the task at hand.
2. "Why did the person before me leave?"
This question is a waste of time, and Nicolle explains that it puts your interviewer in a really awkward situation.
"They can't tell you anyway," she says.
Often people want to know if that person was promoted, and thus gauge what their career trajectory might look like within the business.
Instead, Nicolle says you should ask the interviewer "Why are you in this role?", which is a great way to get a feel for the company. The conversation becomes more personal, and of course,
Psychology 101: People love talking about themselves. Genius.
3. "Don't ask inappropriate questions or things you can find out on Google."
"I've had so many interviews where it's so clear the candidates have not researched the company. And it's so irritating," Nicolle says.
The minute they say something that makes it clear they've not done their research, she says she's "already checked out".
"So for example, doing a few interviews here... I've asked a couple of people who have come in for editorial interviews what their favourite podcast is and they say 'Oh I didn't know you did a podcast...'"
This is a huge no-no. Firstly, because Mamamia has incredible podcasts. That is a well known, scientific fact. And also because it shows you don't know the product, and you don't live and breath the brand.
Everyone should know about our podcasts. Here is Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Jessie Stephens on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
"Even if their interview was amazing, I think, you don't really want to be here," she says. According to Nicolle, you're much better off applying for fewer jobs, and spending time and energy doing your research. That's what will impress an interviewer.
4. "I had a guy say once...'I'm really sorry that I wasn't on my game today, I'm a bit hungover'".
Don't...don't tell the person interviewing you that you're hungover/drunk/on drugs/shop-lifted when you were 13 or anything else that makes you look irresponsible.
"I've had someone ask me if there's free booze at functions and how hard everyone goes..." Nicolle says. And another candidate ask whether free drinks on Friday's are a thing.
Just never do that.
Nicolle's best tip(s) for scoring the job, is "Be on time. Smile. And look presentable."
That means no sneakers and no jeans, but also don't pull out the three piece suit. She says to always dress a little bit more smart/casual than you think the job is.
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