HR Fail! You said what at your job interview?

By: John Perritano

HR Fail! You said what at your job interview?
Image: Chris Ryan/Caiaimage/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Should you bring your mother to a job interview? Should you ask whether a company drug tests its employees? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you need to brush up on you job interview etiquette.
When asked to name a weakness, you should point out traits such as being late to work.
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This is a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people say such things. Instead, focus on a positive trait that could have negative connotations, yet supplied with a positive spin, such as “I always research too much, which means I sometimes work at home.”

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When confronted with the “why did you leave your last job?” question, never tell the interviewer that you were fired.
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Never lie, just know how to “spin” the answer. Don’t be negative, or whiny. Be positive, factual and professional.

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If an interviewer says, “tell me about yourself” you should always stick to work-related issues.
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Interviewers don’t care if you like long walks on the beach. You should use this question to show that you are always learning.
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If asked, you should be upfront about salary expectations.
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This is tricky. You don’t want to undervalue or overvalue yourself. Don’t bring up the subject yourself.
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When asked the proverbial “where do you see yourself in five years?” question, never say “I hope to be on a tropical beach drinking margaritas.”
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Although this answer might be the truth, your response to the question should center on sticking with the company.
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When asked to describe your dream job, you should say it’s the position you’re interviewing about.
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Saying such things is pandering. Instead, focus on non-specific aspects of the job. Say something sappy like “my dream job is a career where I can help people accomplish their goals.”

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You should tell the interviewer that you’re pregnant.
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Being pregnant is not relevant to whether you’re the right person for the job. The best time to tell an employer if you’re pregnant is when the time is right for you.

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Always mention that you helped run your previous company into the ground.
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Always give specific examples of how you helped a company, not how you devalued its stock.

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If asked to describe your time in prison, you should mention your leadership abilities in a gang.
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Probably not a good idea. Instead, say that prison helped you make positive changes in your life.

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Never say “no” when asked, “do you have any questions?”
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Saying “no” says that you’re not very interested in a company. Come up with at least three questions to ask prior to the interview.
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It’s OK to use your mother as a reference.
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Really? You want her to dress you, too?

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It’s not OK for an interviewer to ask your religion.
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Beware. HR people are sneaky. They’ll ask what days you’re available to work, or whether you’re able to work with “our required schedule?”
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It’s OK for an interviewer to ask your age.
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It’s illegal to ask and you shouldn’t offer. They might figure it out with other questions, however, such as “when did you graduate from college.”

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It’s OK to take your kid to an interview.
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Again, really? Taking a rug rat to a job interview is like tattooing “I have poor planning skills” on your forehead.

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It’s not OK to drink coffee during an interview.
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It’s rude to be holding a coffee cup when walking into an interview. Also, make sure you go to the bathroom before you arrive.
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Asking what the hours are for the position is a bad question to ask.
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Even if you’re an hourly employee, your job is based on getting your work done.
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It’s OK to ask if the company drug tests its employees.
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Why would you? If someone asks this question, they’re usually on drugs.

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Covering up tattoos is a good idea.
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Visible tattoos do not go over well in the interview room. Many people have been rejected for jobs because they have tattoos on their neck, face or head.
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I should give actual reasons why I quit my last job.
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You don’t have to say why you left. Good answers are “the job didn’t suit my long-term career goals” or “I’d like to find a career I’m passionate about.” Just expect follow up questions.

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It’s OK to wear perfume or cologne to a job interview.
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Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want people sneezing because they’re allergic to what you have on.
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You Got:
/20
Chris Ryan/Caiaimage/Getty Images

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