It's Not Lying, It's Marketing: 10 Bad Job Interview Answers

Posted by The Editors on March 21, 2012
It's Not Lying, It's Marketing: 10 Bad Job Interview Answers
You get the interview… finally, a chance to show your stuff. You believe you nailed the interview; your answers were just as you rehearsed: honest and concise. You went home feeling pretty good about this one.

But something goes wrong. You don’t get a call back. There is no offer.

Here, just from the past two weeks, are answers I’ve heard from candidates and mentees to direct questions that – much to the demise of their job search – could not have been more wrong. We also present how those answers could be delivered just a bit better  – creating a much different first reaction from recruiters and mentors, and perhaps setting you apart by turning your answers into really good questions and proactive statements…


BEFORE: “I just need someone to give me a chance.”

AFTER: “I am eager to start this assignment; how do I stack up to other candidates you’ve interviewed?”


BEFORE: “I’m tired of working where my boss is a jerk.”

AFTER: “I’m focusing on opportunities where I can build a mutually beneficial mentor-based relationship.”


BEFORE: “The Boomer boss didn’t get me, I’m looking to work where my skills will be appreciated.”

AFTER: “I enjoy cross-generational work teams; how does <company> encourage diversity and collaboration?”


BEFORE: “I’m really just looking for a way to pay the bills until I find my passion.”

AFTER: “There are many aspects of this position that match my passions and career goals.”


BEFORE: “All my friends have good jobs, it’s time for me to get going.”

AFTER: “This opportunity is well aligned with my current career goals. I’m anxious to get started!”


BEFORE: “They weren’t organized at all and I wasn’t getting paid enough; I just put in my time and went home.”

AFTER: “I love the rush of the last-minute, ‘all-hands-on-deck’ projects… I also look for an opportunity to help build a culture where we’re organized and prepared for the unexpected.”


BEFORE: “I didn’t get along with any of the people there… just a bad fit.”

AFTER: “I’ve learned from experience the importance of the right company culture. Can you describe the culture here?”


BEFORE: “I just wanted to do my job… they wanted me to learn things like Social Media.”

AFTER: “I’m a team-player.  I also believe in mastering core responsibilities, and then I’m more than eager to contribute however I’m needed.”


BEFORE: “My solo entrepreneurship project didn’t work out, so I need to get back into the real world.”

AFTER: “I had the opportunity to work on some freelance projects and learned a great deal that will help me excel in this position. Let me give you some examples…”


BEFORE: “They wanted to be surrounded by “Yes Men”… that isn’t me, ya’ know?”

AFTER: “I welcome an environment where open dialogue is encouraged and the end result is a better product, and even more loyal customers. How does <company> approach direct input from team members?”

Job or internships seekers: what answers have you given that allowed the recruiter to perceive you as a less-than-perfect candidate? How will you answer the questions differently next time?

Recruiters and employers: what are some of the worst answers you’ve ever received, and what would you suggest as a much better answer?

About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, YouTern CEO Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in Forbes, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and regarding internships, emerging talent and the current job market – and was recently honored to be named to GenJuice’s “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” list.

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