Bite Your Tongue

Foot in Mouth

Knowing what to say, and when to say it is sometimes a form of art left to Communications or PR specialists. Those who handle a great deal of public speaking engagements often have an advantage in knowing when to respond to something, and how to identify situations which require silence.  The rest of us rely on our natural instinct (defense, enthusiasm, challenge, etc.).

[Let’s interrupt this flow of thought by pre-empting this with the fact that we’re a Temp Agency, and so we tend to see a few things a bit more frequently than your run of the mill company.]

You, as the job seeker, have natural disadvantages in recruitment situations. These tips will apply whether it’s a Temp Agency job, or a long term company position. You’re seeking the job, the opportunity to earn an interview, a discussion, anything that might take you closer to a job offer.  You can’t imagine the multitude of questions that recruiters or hiring managers might throw your way.

Regardless of their approach, the job seeker should be prepared for a skilled interviewer to have seen several candidates similar to them, similar experience, work history, etc. They know enough about the companies around the area that they know which roles bring sets of experience that translate to their needs.

Whether you’re at a job fair, an interview, or phone screen, you should think about your statements and responses before you let them out of your mouth.  Often times, the interviewer is looking for both reasons you match, as well as reasons you don’t match.  Statements that can potentially push you to the bottom of the stack include things like:

  • Negative comments about your former employer (or co-workers) or statements that present negativity in general
  • Too much personal information about your situation (my mother’s best friend’s sister’s dog, had a puppy that caused a stir between Billy’s ex-girlfriend and….)
  • Answers which are too short and abrupt like “Yes” or “No” without brief explanations.
  • Being overly chatty during your discussion with the interviewer
  • Oh, that’s my phone, hang on a sec…
  • Inappropriate slurs or foul language

Hopefully that gives you a starting idea of things that can damage your chances (or perhaps they already have).  Companies like to talk with people that are positive, upbeat, and energetic.  What they don’t want is someone who’s a sour grape. If your first impression to a company is one of negativity, what would they expect of you when you’re comfortable?

Being aware of your surroundings (verbal or otherwise) is something that requires practice. You might consider having a friend ask situational questions to prepare you for those. Generally try to avoid anything that doesn’t paint a positive light.  In other words, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.  OR “Bite Your Tongue.”

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