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Newsletter Archives

Reality Check
What Gets You to Your New Job?

Dress to Impress
Dressing for Interview Success

Are You Ready . . .
For Your Job Winning Job Search?

Preparation for the Interview
Toughest Interview Questions

Resume Presentation
Tips to Look Good and Stand Out

Reinventing Your Workself
When Circumstances Change

Pep Yourself Up for the Interview
Getting Psyched for the Big Opportunity

Make the Most of the Interview
Interview Questions for You to Ask

Your Job Search Is Your New Job
Spending 8 Hours a Day on Your Job Search

Frequent Resume Missteps
What Does Your Resume Say About You?

Employment Testing & Assessments
How Do They Enhance the Interview Process?

Casual Interview Discussions & Informal Questions
Stay Conscious and Interview Focused

Handling Job Search Rejection
Another Networking Opportunity

Stay Positive During Your Job Search
“Best Practice” Tips for Remaining Optimistic

Salary Negotiations
Be Prepared, Positive and Open

Reference Checks
Detailed Assessments Are Now the Norm

Writing Thank You's
Make a Noteworthy Impression

Cover Letters
Make a Good First Impression

Working with Recruiters
What Recruiters Want You to Know

Common Resume Mistakes
Is Your Resume Promoting Your Talents?

Know the Company
Do Your Homework

Casual Interview Discussions & Informal Questions

Stay Conscious and Interview Focused

Answering casual questions or participating in laid-back discussions throughout the interview process can negatively affect the outcome of your interview. Be attentive during the entire interview process.

Have you known of a time when the candidate expertly answered all the interview questions, only to blow their chances during the casual conversation walking out the door? Seasoned interviewers know that asking casual questions before, during and after the formal interview can bring out the best and worst in a candidate.

The Power of Casual Interview Discussions

Many interviewers use casual questions to see candidates from all angles. By making time for informal discussions, most are not trying to trip you up, but they know these casual moments — past the preplanned questions — give them an enhanced view of you. Stay sharp!

When Is Informal Formal?

You are in the interview every second you are on the company’s property. While we are not suggesting that you make up answers, we are suggesting that your answers should be work and position related. You are in an interview when you:

What About Lunch? Dinner? Drinks?

There are other times in the interview process that should not be misconstrued as being informal. As a candidate, anytime you talk with a company official or interviewer this is in fact AN INTERVIEW. We know interviewers who are fond of interviewing over a meal or going for coffee. They believe this allows them to “really get to know you.”

The interviewer asks you casually:

How about the big game last night?

While it may seem harmless to answer this question, remember that you are in an interview. Your answers should be truthful, but speaking “off the cuff” can sometimes be misunderstood. Think before you speak. If you say, “The game! I went crazy last night when we lost. My wife hates it when I watch sports.” What you meant might have been that the game was great or you were joking. What the interviewer may have heard is, “I am angered easily, aggressive and may have a marital problem.” Or an answer like, “The game? I loathe sports and think team sports are deplorable,” might demonstrate that you are not a team player. The truth, for both of these is that it is best to give a neutral answer like, “Yes, I saw the game. It was fun to watch.”

What do you do for fun when you are not working?

This is a personal question and should not be a part of the interview, and we can assure you that even the most seasoned human resources professionals have a difficult time answering this question. This is a question that should be pondered before the interview. We suggest you keep your answer work related. For instance, if you are applying for a position as a trainer, you might say that you like to write in your spare time. And, for CEO’s, you might want to concentrate on your volunteer or board positions. Stating that you like to play extreme sports might be effective if you are applying with Nike, but most companies shy away from people who do “extreme” anything. Also, going on and on with statements like, “I like kayaking, yachting, parachuting, rock climbing, embroidery, taking care of our son and bible study” is way too much information.

Do you like to travel? Do you have pets? Do you do team sports?

These questions all sound harmless, but casual questions can lull a candidate into a comfortable place where the answers may be misconstrued. We know of a candidate that joked that he hated the name “Doris,” only to be informed that the interviewer’s beloved mother was named Doris!

In Summary . . .

We suggest you keep your conversations professional at all times. This does not mean you cannot joke or tell a good story, but make sure it emphasizes your talents on the job. It is the interviewer’s responsibility to make sure you will fit in the job and in the organization. This means they may try to get a feel for how you would fit into the company culture, how you would work with other employees, or the impression you might make on clients. While all this can be accomplished through business related questions, we caution you to be prepared for the seemingly casual question.


We wish you great success in your job search!

1StopResume.com utilizes several sources to bring you revolutionary and fundamental job search wisdom. While we would like to acknowledge individually those websites, books and articles, authors, and masters, this list would be extensive. We thank these sources for their contributions.