Category Archives: interview

5 simple clues to spot a liar

A part of my job involves interviewing candidates for various positions and at different levels. The other day while writing some stuff on body language I started to think about the many aspects of a candidate that we tend to evaluate during the interview process. One aspect that we look at, or at least try to determine to the best of our ability is whether the candidate is being honest or not.
Here are 5 simple clues that you too can watch for in your daily lives and learn how to spot a liar:
<![if !supportLists]>1-      <![endif]>Observe the body language
Does the body language match what the person is telling you? Very often we communicate more from our physical gestures than our words. It is the gap between what is being said and what the body is trying to portray which will give a liar away. You do need to watch for it thou as many expressions can be as slight as an eye blink.
<![if !supportLists]>2-      <![endif]>Watch the smile
A smile can convey many things. However a true smile will always incorporate the lips and the eyes. If you watch carefully you may be able to detect any hidden emotion that a liar is trying to hide such as anger, fear or even disgust.
<![if !supportLists]>3-      <![endif]>Not what but how it is spoken
Experts believe and to some extent I have personally observed that whenever a person is lying their speech rate (words per minute) and breathing pattern changes. It may either increase or decrease, but it does change. Noting this may also help you identify if someone is hiding something from you.
<![if !supportLists]>4-      <![endif]>Against usual behavior
In case the person is reasonably known to you, one indication of lying can be uncharacteristic behavior. The above points need to be weighed in along with the observation of a different behavior pattern to make sense and / or pass any judgment.
<![if !supportLists]>5-      <![endif]>Type of query and its response
Ask simple question and get a simple reply. When you note that someone turns their eyes or starts to show uneasy body language when asked a simple question it means there is something they are hiding. Of course in case a tricky or hard / uncomfortable question is asked it is natural for the other person’s body language to reflect the uneasiness or prolonged processing time.
I hope this is some help and do feel free to add any observations that you have made during the course of your interviews etc.

Interview “Do Not’s”

Here are a few don’ts to remember when in an interview or going to one:
DO NOT
Arrive Late
Allow enough time for any unforeseen circumstances
Make frequent use of active verbs, such as, achieved, set up, managed, responsible for, led
Be specific instead of appearing to be flaunting openly.
Use bullet points in conversation
Be descriptive and conversational while describing your achievements
Mumble or talk too fast or too softly
You must speak clearly!
Fidget and fiddle with items on the desk
Handle a pen of your own or yet better try to control your hand movement
Play with your hair and clothes
Wait until the interview is over to do that
Use slang words, make silly jokes, or chew gum
Instead try thinking “would I take someone like this serious?”
Lean on the interviewer’s desk or glance at your watch
It gives the impression that you are not serious
Hide any aspect of your previous record, overstate qualifications, brag, or become angry
This would be simply “wrong”. Never lie in an interview…it will come back to haunt you.
Mention any negative aspect of your current employer, classes, or university
It will reflect of you as a person
Show ignorance about the company
This means that you should have done research on the company before you go in to the interview and then allow your research to come through in conversation
Bring up the topic of salary.
It will be discussed when the time is right. Don’t worry it will come up if they are interested.
Come across as being passive or indifferent
Be positive and enthusiastic
Be overbearing, or conceited.
Be friendly and open, but do not flirt!
Answer questions with another question
That’s just rude.
Use negative body language, or convey inappropriate aspects of your character.
That’s like handing over a reason for the interviewer to reject you.
Appear half-asleep
go to bed early the night before the interview and sleep soundly knowing that you are fully prepared for the day ahead

Things never to say in a job interview

Off all the things one wishes they had not said in a job interview I would like to highlight the top five 🙂

So here are 5 of the biggest blunders…………..

1. “I hated my last boss.” It doesn’t matter how bad your last boss was — don’t cite it as a reason for leaving your job neither should you complain about your boss’s managerial skills. This kind of “trash” talking will make your potential new boss think your interpersonal skills are weak and you’re not a team player. Follow the advice your mom gave you: If you can’t say anything nice about someone, explain that your last role was not a good fit for you, or you are looking for new ways to grow.

2. “I don’t know anything about this company.” Do your research. Know something about the company you’re interviewing for, and be able to articulate how your skills will complement the business. If you’re a Web designer, for example, at the very least study the company’s Web site and explain what you like and what you would change, given the chance. A neutral example would be for instance reviewing the company’s website for the careers section or the Human Resource section. You can easily start an educated and informed discussion with the HR representative on how you feel the section could have been more informational or why you liked it etc.

3. “No questions, thanks.” When it’s your turn to ask questions about the company and the role, have something to talk about. If you don’t, it looks like your lack of inquisitiveness means you are not genuinely interested in a career, but just a paycheck. Did the interviewer already answer everything you wanted to know? At least rephrase something you already talked about in a new way.

4. “What sect do you belong to ?” Small talk can be great. You may use small talk to include something unrelated to the job directly but that shows competencies that are transferable to the job you are applying for thou. But know where the line is and don’t cross it — don’t ask or talk about stuff that’s inappropriately personal.

5. “And another thing…” Avoid rats and bitterness. It’s great to have strong opinions, but be careful that you don’t come across sounding like you are angry or so opinionated that you’ll be difficult to work with. No one wants to work with a serial complainer.


Wish you the best of luck for your interviews.

How to say “good bye” in a job interview

In the line of work that I am in, one gets to interview numerous candidates for a variety of roles and positions. One thing I have noticed is that the candidates come rehearsed with answers for even the toughest job interview questions, but are rarely prepared on how to end the interview? 
While it’s true that first impressions are important, many people forget that last impressions tend to linger. Ending a job interview is nearly as important as starting one.
I was talking to a fellow HR Manager, belonging to a large technology firm. He agreed with me that one of the important things in an interview is how you end it.
He says, “Just as importantly is how you end the interview, so just shaking their hand and saying ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ is not really the best last impression you want to make.”
I read online that Human Resources expert Sarah Paul agrees that your attitude at the end of an interview can help or hurt your chances. She says, “Show confidence by giving a firm handshake and making strong eye contact.” 
Her other suggestions include:
Avoid looking needy – make the interviewer feel like you have other options on the table.
Asking if it would be appropriate for you to follow up in a week regarding the status of the recruitment also demonstrates assertiveness and shows you are not afraid to take control of your career.  

Even if you don’t think it went well, confidence goes a long way and is sometimes more important than how you answered that dreadful ‘give me an example of a weakness’ question.

You can also suggest that the interviewer please contact you should they have any further questions/clarifications. This shows you are collaborative and want them to have as much information about you as possible.  
If you think you did a terrible interview, don’t show it. Good interviewers can read body language.
Keep your head up, have a strong handshake and maintain eye contact.
Make sure you get a business card so you can email a thank you note. 
Marci Schnapp-Rafael, president of TeamQuest Systems Inc. also suggested the following actions to ensure you leave a positive lasting impression:
  • Leave behind examples of your work and positive evidence of what you have testified to during the interview
  • Stop talking and exit gracefully

She cautioned that sometimes job candidates unconsciously sabotage their job chances at the interview. Some of the actions she has seen include:
  • Leaving behind garbage like an empty Starbucks cup or water bottle. She adds, “Not that you should bring your own into the interview in the first place.”
  • Taking a call on your cell phone as you are walking out the door.
  • Continuing to talk or ask questions even after the interview has ended
  • Slamming the door, stomping feet or showing any signs of being emotionally upset.

The end of the interview is the final chance you have to make a good impression. 
Best of luck 🙂

Interviewing Like a Pro in Five Easy Steps

By Linda Matias

It’s an inescapable fact that interviews are the “make or break” factor on whether one lands the job. So it is surprising to find that most job seekers approach interviews with a cavalier attitude, without any preparation – they simply wake up the morning of the interview, cross their fingers, and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, walking into an interview cold rarely works. Human capital is the biggest expense an organization has. When all is said and done, a wrong hiring decision costs a company time and resources. Through a series of well thought out questions, a skillful interviewer will use the interview process to distinguish between those candidates who have experience and those who are experts in the given field.

An interview can be won or lost within seconds, and by implementing simple strategies, you can vastly improve your interview performance. Interviews can be challenging but they are manageable when approached as a five-step process.

1. A successful interview depends in part, on whether you understand your role and that of the interviewer. As an interviewee, you have two obligations – (1) to sell your qualifications and (2) to evaluate the position and leave the interview with a solid understanding of the job’s requirements. Interviewing is more than just answering questions; it is about preparing, understanding and responding to the hiring organizations needs.

The role of the interviewer is to sell the company, assess your commitment to working for their organization and determine if you are the same person that is represented on paper.

In reality, your role and that of the interviewer overlap. Both of you are gathering information, selling a product and evaluating whether or not there is a match between you.

2. Before each interview select 3-5 accomplishments or skills that you consider to be your major selling points. Every time the interview shifts in a direction that doesn’t support your agenda, figure out a way to steer the conversation back to your major selling points. When determining your selling points, consider situations where you demonstrated initiative, overcame challenges, and/or streamlined a process.

While it may be difficult to define the specific needs of every company that is hiring, all organizations are looking for an employer that has the following characteristics: advanced communication skills, teamwork skills, honesty and self-confidence. Whenever possible, integrate these qualities in your responses.

3. Build personal credibility by adapting your communication style to that of the interviewer. The way you communicate goes beyond the words that you choose. Your appearance, demeanor, posture and attitude all play a part in the way your message will be received.

Trust begins to form during the interview and by flexing your communication style you leave the listener with a subconscious message that says, “I can sit next to this person on a daily basis.” Once you have accomplished that, you are one step closer to a job offer.

4. Turn the interview into a conversation by asking questions throughout the interview. Ask questions that reflect your interest in the organization. If you leave an interview without asking relevant questions, the interviewer will question your sincerity. By asking questions you show the interviewer your commitment to your profession and the industry.

5. Don’t get blind-sided with questions that you should have been prepared to answer. There are several questions that are interviewers canned favorites and they include: Tell me about yourself, Where do you see yourself in five years? Tell me about a time when you successfully handled a situation?, and What do you consider your major achievement?

Rehearse interview answers, but don’t sound rehearsed. Practice your responses until you feel that they clearly reflect your skills and personality. Don’t just make statements that you think the interviewer wants to hear.

Going in unprepared is a sure-fire way to sabotage an interview. When it comes down to the wire and it is between you and another candidate with a similar background, interview performance will probably be the deciding factor on who gets hired.

Job offers are not won by accident; time spent preparing for an interview produces significant results. The more you practice your interviewing skills the more confidence you will gain and the more polished your presentation.

Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation, and resume writing, quoted a n umber of times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. She is President of CareerStrides and the National Resume Writers’ Association. Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com or email her at linda@careerstrides.com.

Interviewing Like a Pro in Five Easy Steps by Linda Matias, JCTC, CEIP (c) Linda Matias – All rights reserved