Job interviews can be very stressful, especially if they are for tech-related roles. The hiring manager can test you on a wide of technical and non-technical competencies. So it is easy to get trapped with a question for which you do not know the answer. What then should you do? Questions you will not be able to pull off a satisfactory response instantly, what do you then do? This blog post will give you some insight into how you can best address such a challenge. It will address why you should never lie in an interview, how best to respond, and some best practices for job interviews.
There are different aspects to a successful interview. It starts with how you organize and present yourself -including how you dress. Then you have your body language, your attitude, and your knowledge of the organization. And then your actual technical competence for the job. Brush up on your technical competencies and soft skills, you actually need to tick the box for all these. Even the best candidates may still get questions to which they don’t know the answers. How you approach such can sometimes be the “make-or-break it” moment in the interview. Preparation for such a scenario is therefore very important.
Establishing The “Trust Boundaries” in The Interview; Being Honest
Trust is the foundation of any professional relationship. If your prospective employer cannot trust you, they will not employ you – irrespective of your technical competence. It is as simple as that. So it is important not to give your prospective employer a reason not to trust you. The “Trust boundaries” as used in IT describe whether you can accept or trust the information or request from a particular segment of a network. The same is true in a job interview. Does the employer trust the information about you and from you as being authentic?
The “trust boundaries” are established very quickly in many interviews so you have to be very careful right from the start. Prospective employers can tell whether to trust you or not by simply asking questions. It is important to be very honest about your skills and competencies. You should have at least some reasonable knowledge of whatever competence you claim to possess in your resume. This does not mean you “water down” your skills or potential. It simply means you know what you know and can figure your way around such skill if given related tasks. It also means you are not going to overexaggerate your skills in a way that is misleading.
Acceptable Interview conducts
Being honest in your interactions with the hiring manager is not just a moral or ethical issue, it is also a tool that can make you likable and employable. You should, however, be careful not to dump all your “garbage” or personal details on the employer. The following are some tips you should be aware of, to help you avoid potential pitfalls.
1. A Few Ommisions Are Permissible
It is okay and acceptable to leave out some details about yourself both in your resume and in your presentations. It doesn’t make much sense for example to mention that you had to take your certification exams several times. If they ask to make some clarifications, use information that is only relevant to the job.
2. Honor Non-Disclosure Agreements
If you signed a non-disclosure agreement with your former employer, you should honor them even during interviews for a new job. Tell the interviewer why you may decline to answer certain questions about your previous employer. Any good organization should respect your refusal to divulge such information. That will show that they too can trust you to keep their own sensitive information private even after you stop working for them.
3. Ethical Considerations; Respecting Previous Employers
Often times you will get asked about your previous employer, it is ethically wrong to use the opportunity to denigrate them or mention the shortcomings of your former bosses or supervisor. If you are quick to “tell” on your former bosses, it sends the wrong signal to your prospective employer that you probably have a problem with taking instructions. It is also wrong to reveal the trade secrets (that are not publicly available) of your former employer during an interview. Such action can show that you cannot keep a secret.
For ethical reasons, you should also reject requests that will put other persons in harm or violate their safety You should indicate however that you are willing to bring your wealth of experience in specific instances that can help the organization when given the opportunity.
4. Focus On Your Strengths
Hiring Managers are at liberty to probe you on any of your skills and competencies, you will do better to steer the interview in your favor by focusing on your strengths. The more chances you get at focusing on your strengths, the less there is in being asked awkward questions for which you may not have a ready answer. Make a conscious effort to “sell” your strengths to a prospective employer at any opportunity, it can make up for some gaps or deficiencies that may come up later in the course of the interview.
Being Honest IN AN INTERVIEW
Trust is the foundation of any professional relationship, people will not hire you if they cannot trust you. It is not just a moral requirement but also needed in the workplace. Organizations want to be sure that you can fit within their corporate structure. They need someone who will not abuse or compromise confidential information- either of the organization or those of her clients. It is crucial to the organization that all their employees are trustworthy hence they will always look for such clues in the recruitment process.
Hiring managers can suspect it when you are telling a lie and will want to probe further to confirm their suspicion. When they confirm such suspicion to be true, the interview will likely end. Having a bad reputation for lying is not something most Hiring managers can overlook. It is more important than your technical competence.
Employers are concerned that they can trust their potential employees. When you lie in an interview, you are proving to the employer that they cannot trust you. If they cannot trust you, they consequently cannot hire you. Lying is one of the quickest things that can end the interview. It prevents every opportunity for the Hiring manager from getting to know you better. Sometimes, the hiring manager may frame questions precisely to test your integrity or to get a reaction out of you. So it is important for you to avoid telling lies.
Besides your technical competence, the prospective employer is testing your attitude, your soft skills, your motivation, your enthusiasm, your capabilities, etc. Do not pay all your attention to just giving the correct answers on your technical competencies. Someone who is willing to learn and take corrections is usually more attractive to the prospective employer than someone who “knows it all already”.
What To Say When You Don’t Know The Answer To A Question
Be honest about it, tell the interviewer that you are sorry that you have not had the opportunity to learn that yet, but that you are highly energetic, highly enthusiastic, and that you are very passionate about the job. Tell them that you know what you know and you know what you do not know, and that you can find answers to questions quickly. And that if it is really important to the employer, you can learn and master the concepts as quickly as possible. And if he really wants to talk about your competencies, he should ask you about …(mention the areas where you have your best strength).
This kind of approach has two benefits; first, it tells the hiring manager that they can trust you. They will only hire someone they can trust.
Secondly, it redirects the interview to focus on your best strengths rather than your weaknesses. It gives you the opportunity to “sell” your skills and that you are the best candidate for the job. That will help you gain some edge over other candidates. Your chances of getting a job will increase if the interviewer focuses on your best strength.
Honesty is still the best policy. It is important to build trust in the interview process. Being honest about your capabilities and showing demonstrable traits to be able to learn new skills make you likable to your prospective employer. You also need to be careful when presenting facts about yourself that aren’t favorable. Focus on your strengths and willingness to fill in knowledge gaps when they become obvious to your prospective employer.
Never lie in an interview, honesty builds trust which is part of the foundation for someone to hire you. If asked a competency question you do not know, tell the interviewer that you do not know but that you can do all it takes to learn and master the concept. Redirect the interview to focus on your best strengths. Try as much as possible to present only information about yourself that is relevant to the job.