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Common Interviewing Mistakes

The Office Finale: 8 Fatal Interviewing Mistakes

Last night's The Office season finale featured a long string of guest stars, from big-name comedians to billionaire Warren Buffett. But what really kept me glued to the screen were all the crazy interview antics. There were so many interview blunders, and I wanted to share them with you to make sure you aren't doing the same! Never, ever do these things at interviews:

  • Don't talk about sex: When asked about how he would transition from selling a different product from paper, James Spader says, "There is no such thing as a product. Don't ever think there is. There is only sex. Everything is sex." Don't mention sex-related topics during an interview, because it makes you look unprofessional and, frankly, a pervert. To top it all off, Spader's answer does not make sense!
  • Back your answers up: Will Arnett confidently says at his interview that he has a three-step plan for doubling Dunder Mifflin's profits. When interviewers Toby, Jim, and Gabe ask Will what his three-step plan is, Will replies, "Nice try . . . Well I mean I can't just hand you my plan, I mean if you guys give me the job then you'll get the plan." You need to make your interviewers believe that you will add value to their firm and you need to explain how you're going to do that. You don't have to give away everything, but you should still share part of your plan.
  • Don't start negotiating at the interview: Warren Buffett starts negotiating for a better salary and benefits when he hasn't even received an offer. He says, "Can you do any better on salary? What about mileage when I use my car, I mean gas ain't cheap." Your interviewers will think it's bad form and that it's all you're thinking about. You need to impress upon them that you're excited about the job and the company.

Read on for more interviewing tips.

  • Be professional even if you're applying internally: When Daryl is asked for his résumé, he replies with a confused, "I just thought you knew me," and when Toby quizzes him about how Daryl would settle conflicts in the company, the warehouse foreman says, "I thought that was your job." Even if you're applying for an internal position within your company, you need to be professional and prep for it like it's an actual interview (because it pretty much is). Don't try to be too familiar with your interviewers even if you know them.
  • Don't badmouth your former company: "I'm leaving my other job, because they were all jerks. All of them. You had your jerk wads and your jerk offs. Between the wads and the offs, I just, I gotta get out of there," Ray Romano says when asked about why he wants to leave his current job. Even if you are on bad terms with your company, don't be negative when asked about your firm. You need to display a positive vibe with your potential employers.
  • Don't take it personally if your interview did not go well: Andy is upset at how his interview goes so he screams in the car to himself about how he wanted it to go better. It's just an interview, and there will be others. Don't beat yourself up over it or you might lose the motivation and confidence, which you need for future interviews.
  • Don't embellish: Kelly says that she manages her department and that she's been doing it for several years. When Jim says that Kelly is the only person in her department, Kelly responds with a, "Yes Jim, but I am not easy to manage." Kelly makes another interview blunder after her embellishment, when she puts herself down by saying she is difficult to manage. Be honest in your answers, because it's very easy to fact check to see if you've been exaggerating.
  • Don't contradict yourself and be too agreeable: "First I'll take down the cubicle walls . . . there'd be no titles," Catherine Tate states in her interview. However, when Jim questions her strategy, Catherine immediately changes her tune and says to deal with it she'll "go the other way. More cubicles. More division. Everyone is somebody's boss, and that person can fire the person below them." Don't try to be too agreeable with your interviewers to the point where you're contradicting a previous point you made.

Photo courtesy of NBC

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