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11/20/2013
09:06 AM
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8 Ways To Bomb IT Job Interviews

Don't trash past employers. Don't make crazy requests. Here's what else to avoid in an IT job interview, say recruiters.

10 Job Search Tools For Recent Grads
10 Job Search Tools For Recent Grads
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You've aced the phone interview and up next is the in-person meeting. What do you say? What don't you say? CIOs and IT recruiters share some of their interviewing horror stories and lessons learned to help you land that dream job.

1. You speak poorly about past employers.  Scott Kressner, VP and CIO at Rush Enterprises, says one of the biggest turnoffs during a job interview is when a candidate bad-mouths his current or past employer.

"There are many reasons why this is bad. One: It's incredibly disloyal. Two: It's very unprofessional. And three: It shows that you're unable to resolve conflicts," Kressner said. "In general, it shows a lack of self-control."

Michael Heiser, CIO at Blue Lion Media, agreed. "Whatever happened at your previous employer is between you and them," he said. "Don't bring this up in the context of your interview and potential new employer. It makes you look bad."

[ It's a good idea to refresh your LinkedIn profile once a month. Read more: LinkedIn Tips: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Profile. ]

2. You bring up salary too soon. You may be anxious for details about the salary for a new position, but resist the urge to bring it up early in the interview process -- and better yet, at all, Heiser said.

"I've been on both sides of the table here, and in my experience, it's just best to wait for the employer to initiate that discussion."

Bringing up salary too early makes you look like you're interviewing for all the wrong reasons, Heiser said. Win them over with your skills and passion for the job first.

3. You swear. You might feel at ease and think the interview is going well, but remember to keep everything -- including your language -- professional, said Mark Berger, a senior IT recruiter at Steven Douglas.

"I once had a candidate curse in an interview. He was at a group lunch in a relaxed setting and he started using the F-word. He said he felt comfortable and felt like he could talk freely," Berger said. "My advice: No matter how comfortable you are in an interview, remember that you are being evaluated and not everyone tolerates cursing."

4. You don't consider your audience. Andrew Cann, a senior IT recruiter at Microsoft, said it's important for job candidates to consider the person they're talking to when answering certain technical questions. For example, if a recruiter or hiring manager asks you questions about coding, be careful you don't get into too much detail.

"You don't want to be more technical than you have to be in certain cases. When a candidate goes into greater detail than I can follow, I usually stop them and let them know it's more than I need to know right now and that it would probably be more appropriate for the technical screen," Cann said. "But then I want to see if they understood me: Do they catch my drift? Are they coachable? They might know their technical stuff, but if they're not understanding that this is too technical for me, they'll probably do the same with a client onsite."

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Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
11/20/2013 | 9:33:00 AM
ways to bomb
All excellent pointers. You know when people advise you to "just be yourself?" That doesn't really work for a job interview if you think being yourself includes trashing your last boss or dressing like a slob or using profanity because that's the way you speak among friends.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2013 | 9:49:51 AM
Re: ways to bomb
It's better to say "be the most professional version of yourself." You should probably only be yourself around friends and colleagues that you've worked with for a while. 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
11/20/2013 | 10:22:55 AM
Re: ways to bomb
@Shane, yes, that's a good way to put it. I don't mean that one should adopt a fake personality or even pretend that s/he only lives for work 12 hours a day if that is not the case. But relaxing too much is not the way to go. I remember reading some time ago about an interviewer who would trick people intor revealing information that is illegal to ask. 

LearnVest ran a piece called 11 Things Hiring Managers Won't Tell You last April. Among other things it warned about what you give away:

Your wedding or engagement ring? Can and may be used against you.

Those photos of kids on a hiring manager's desk? They may not actually be the manager's children—but the photo is designed to get you talking about your kids, or whether you plan to have some eventually.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2013 | 9:48:52 AM
A Related One
Related to the no-no about bringing up salary too soon: Don't ask about days off and vacations too soon. You don't want to be telling a future employer that your mind is already on the R&R. 

 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/20/2013 | 11:27:09 AM
What else?
IT recruiters and hiring managers: Let's hear your horror stories. What other no-nos would you add to this list?
jeffhutton
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jeffhutton,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 5:24:49 PM
8 Ways To Bomb IT Job Interviews
These are great pointers.  I could also add don't have your phone accessible.  We had someone interview for a job and he responded to texts during the interview!  Nothing screams 'I'm uninterested' louder.    
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/22/2013 | 2:50:30 PM
Re: 8 Ways To Bomb IT Job Interviews
I can envision this being a problem with Millennials, though I'd hope that most would have enough common sense to put the phone away for the duration of the interview.
jeffhutton
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jeffhutton,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 10:15:01 AM
Re: 8 Ways To Bomb IT Job Interviews
I agree and that was the case.  But I have had a number of interviews with candidates where their phone either rang or vibrated and it was an interruption and distraction to both of us.  I would suggest leaving the phone in the car or at least turn it off.   
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