As today’s job hunters know, getting a face-to-face interview can feel like a career coup. It probably means you’ve sailed through numerous e-mail and phone screenings, and are in a terrific position to sell your skills and experience to a new employer.
But you’re not home free. Career experts say midlife job seekers have some blind spots, and are prone to subtle, sabotaging gaffes. “One big problem is they often assume they are pretty good at interviews,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at The Ladders, the online employment site. “They’ve usually done a lot of them, and have likely been on both sides of the desk. But just because you’ve been in hundreds of interviews doesn’t mean you can’t brush up on your skills.”
Here are seven of the worst things you can say during your precious 30 minutes.
“Am I over 18? You’re kidding, right?” While interviewers can’t ask how old you are, at least not legally, they are allowed to ask if you’re over 18. Many do so, just to see how sensitive you are about your age. “Of course it’s a silly question,” Augustine says. But even if you think a jovial response makes you seem relaxed about how old you are, save it for the next time you get carded at Safeway. Instead, just smile, and say, “Yes. I am over 18.”
“I’m ready for a change.” As true as this may be, it’s a terrible way to sell yourself to a potential employer, especially in this uncertain job market, says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “I had a client say this recently in an interview, and really, why would any other company be interested in him? It gives the impression that he was bored, his experience was growing stale, and he was unmotivated. Otherwise, why would he stay in his field so long?”