Career Development Center Advice: How to Address Red Flags during the Interview

Ryan Tin Loy and student

By Ryan Tin Loy, Senior Career Advisor

               The job interview is the most common tool utilized by employers to determine whether a candidate has the right qualifications for the position. While no interview is perfect, candidates should be prepared to address tough questions from an employer, which are designed to test one’s skills and talents for a particular job. Below are some general strategies and techniques to aid you during the interview.

Demonstrate what you “can do” not “what you can’t do”: Too often candidates are eager to demonstrate skills and experiences that they lack. It is like trying to thread a very fine needle, which often backfires if you have a very experienced interviewer. Emphasize the skills and experiences you can readily demonstrate.

Learn to Mitigate: Experienced interviewers will often probe a candidate for weaknesses during the job interview. Learn to make these weaknesses appear smaller by demonstrating comparable skills or experiences. For example, if your background is weak on work experience, highlight your education or volunteer experience.

Show that you have grown: Show an employer what you have learned or done from a particular experience. Too often candidates will acknowledge mistakes or shortcomings in their past but fail to demonstrate what that experience taught them. Employers are more interested in knowing your corrective plans of action moving forward.

Avoid lying: At all costs avoid lying, embellishing or stretching facts during the interview. This creates an even more tenuous situation. Play to your strengths while avoiding or downplaying your weaknesses.