6 Things You Should NEVER Do During an Interview

Alexandra Kadlec
June 27, 2018

Get a job with these helpful interview tips from experts.

Whether you're talking to a family about a possible nanny job or meeting with a cleaning company to become a housekeeper, job interviews can be nerve-wracking. But keeping in mind some basic etiquette will go a long way in making you feel prepared and confident during the process. You want to make a lasting impression (the good kind), which means making all of the right moves, and -- just as importantly-- avoiding the wrong ones.

Here are six things to avoid during the interview process.

  1. Don't Criticize Former Employers
    It's never a good idea to badmouth someone you once worked for (particularly because your prospective employer may be contacting them as a reference!). Show that you learned from a negative past experience, instead of merely being soured by it. Remember that as a caregiver, maturity is an essential quality -- and complaining about a former family is anything but.

    "Stay positive and professional," advises Katie Vaughan, founder and CEO of Westside Nannies, adding that "this type of behavior will always reflect poorly on you."

    And Sharyn Marcuson, owner of Care Givers Placement Agency, recommends abstaining from revealing personal information about anyone you've previously worked for. If pressed, talk about past situations in general terms, or just say "I prefer not to comment on that."

  2. Don't Make It All About You
    Remember that the reason you're being interviewed is to fulfill the needs of the company, individual or family in question. While you may have plenty of career and personal ambitions, an interview is not the time to voice them. Your prospective employer wants to know first and foremost what you can do for them. Show an interest in the family and how you can make their lives easier.

  3. Don't Overshare
    And avoid oversharing. A first interview is not the time to talk about your boyfriend, after-hours social life or the drama with your mother-in-law, says Vaughan. Focus on your experience and anything that applies to the job.

  4. Don't Be Late
    This one actually comes before the interview. It may seem obvious, but it's worth stating. Allot extra travel time to make it to your meeting place, particularly if you rely on public transportation (unexpected delays can always occur) or will be driving during a high-traffic time. In lieu of an unavoidable circumstance, being late is rude and always looks bad. As a caregiver, you need to show that you're reliable and dependable. Showing up even a minute or two late could cost you the job. It's better to arrive at least 15 minutes early and wait down the block.

  5. Don't Bring Up Money (Too Soon)
    Pay is an important factor in any job prospect, but handling this matter requires tact and timing. If an hourly rate or salary hasn't been disclosed upfront, try to hold off asking until you've first conveyed your interest in and enthusiasm for the job.

    "Your primary concern in an interview should be focusing on what you bring to the employer, not what the employer can do for you," shares Kristin S. Johnson, job search coach and owner of Profession Direction, LLC. "As hard as it is, and is much as you want to know what they will be paying you, it is best to be patient and wait for them to make an offer."

  6. Don't Forget the Reason You're There
    Who will you be caring for? A baby, a senior, a pet? Engage with that person or animal, in addition to the other people you're interviewing with. If you're interviewing for a nanny job, for example, Marcuson points out that "anything a nanny can do to get the kids to engage speaks volumes in an interview."

Remember these tips and you'll be well on your way to acing that interview. And good luck!

Alexandra Kadlec is a freelance writer. When not writing, doing crossword puzzles, or playing competitive games of Scrabble, she is known to get effusive about modern art, Jane Austen and karaoke.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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