There are three words you should never say in front of your potential boss.
If you’ve ever sat through a job interview only to never hear from your potential boss again, three seemingly innocent words could be to blame.
According to Australian recruitment expert Kara Atkinson, many job seekers are falling into some common traps during the interview process that could cost them their dream role.
Some no-no’s — being late, wearing jandals and swearing — are obvious; others are so subtle many never even realise they’ve made a crucial mistake.
Here’s how to prevent it happening to you.
Atkinson told news.com.au the first step was to be well-groomed. Get your hair cut, wear deodorant, remove distracting accessories like sunglasses and dress appropriately and conservatively.
But there’s one item of clothing she said many people didn’t realise was a “red flag” for employers.
“In the first interview, even open-toed shoes can be a red flag — so remove the opportunity for people to think you’re a bit odd and wear closed shoes,” she said.
“No one will critique you for being too corporate, and you can pare back at the second interview.”
But she said two of the most vital tricks for wowing your boss was taking notes during the interview — a habit that will make you stand out from the competition and make the interview seem more “conversational” — and always accepting a cup of tea, coffee or water when offered.
“It’s a really simple way of removing any negativity because saying no is an act of negativity,” she said.
“There’s a really old adage about breaking bread together, so go to the kitchen with the interviewer, make the coffee together and use it as an opportunity to build rapport with them.
“People normally say ‘no thank you’ when a drink is offered because they don’t want to take up the person’s time, but it’s actually a subtle way to build rapport without even being aware of it.”
Atkinson said a few key phrases should never be spoken during a job interview.
“If you’re asked how you would manage competing priorities, instead of saying ‘I would…’, give an example of what you have actually done — say ‘great question, previously when I had competing priorities I had a to-do list, and I made sure the team was aware of our deadline’.”
But the number one phrase that should be banned from any jobseeker’s lips is “work/life balance” because it is an overused term and also a privilege that is “aspirational and earned”.
“It implies you don’t have a strong work ethic — it can be discussed but wait for the interviewer to bring up or until your second interview,” Atkinson said.
“Flexibility is definitely a hook most employers should be using to attract the right people, but it needs to be positioned by them, not you. Most offices these days are outcomes-driven, so if you’re asking about hours it implies you are a clock-watcher, even if you aren’t.”
Atkinson said the same rule applied to asking about salary straight off the bat and instead urged jobhunters to wait until the second interview to discuss the finer details.
She said asking for directions to the office was a huge no-no, as was turning up more than 10 minutes early, reading dates or details off your resume and answering questions with yes or no replies.
But if you feel you’ve completely tanked, Atkinson said there was still a great way to claw back your chances — by asking a few brilliant questions about the workplace’s culture, long-term vision and what success in the role would look like.