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When it’s Time to Stand Down in a Job Interview

A job interview is a time to boast, but it’s also a time to listen

Senior businessman

➔ One of the main objectives for job seekers during an interview is to try to sell themselves to this potential employer. One way to accomplish this to expound on all your magnificent skills and your notable achievements. But you can go too far.

This raises one of the most important traits for any job seeker: good judgment and/or common sense. (Of course, the catch phrase is that common sense isn’t so common any more. They may be right.)

Knowing when to say “when”

Shouldn’t you try to portray yourself in as positive a light as possible during a job interview? Absolutely. But you can take that concept a bit too far. You can be positive and even assertive without being an obnoxious braggart.

There are instances when the wise play is to bite your tongue.

Over the course of your career, you’ve probably observed many and varied ways to tackle a particular business situation. No doubt some have worked better than others. And, because of your experience, you know which approaches work better than others. It’s how you get that point across that counts.

What you don’t want to do is to tell your potential employer that you know their business better than they do. If, right out of the box, you proclaim, “Let me show you how this should be done.” Or, if you say “Let me show you how to run this operation.” There’s a good chance that your interview may respond with, “Let me show you the door.”

If you feel it’s appropriate to say anything at all, rather than come across as a Mr. Know-It-All, maybe posing your familiarity with the situation as a question or a suggestion may be more appropriate. “Have you ever considered…?” Or, “When I was at XYZ Company, we tried this and it worked very well.”

This really isn’t rocket science. In the end, common sense wins the day.


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