The Deadly Dozen

The Deadly Dozen – Any one of these twelve things could ruin your chances to get that job you want.

Hi everybody, I’m Jack Dunigan of This is another episode in lessons in superlative leadership. We’re in the middle of a series on how to excel at your job interview, and in this episode we’re going to talk about the deadly dozen. Any one of these 12 things could cost you the job. Do you know what they are? Standby, let’s find out.

Number one, condemning past employers. If you are just dialing into this series I would encourage you to go back to last week’s episode called the story of Mike. And this is what Mike did to destroy his chances before he even got started. You want to be careful about what you say about the people you work for or have worked for in the past. You may have had a rotten experience, they may have treated you terribly, don’t go there. Don’t go there if you feel tempted to say something bad about where you used to work, just let it go and move on, talk about the future, talk about your strengths, talk about how you can solve problems for this company that you’re interviewing with, just go on by.

Next one, poor personal appearance. I like this picture. This lady is chewing gum, bubblegum, here, don’t do that, don’t smoke, don’t do your nails, don’t look on the phone, don’t look unkempt, don’t look like you just come off a three-day drunk. Look like you deserve the job. So you don’t want to look like this lady.

And the next one is inability to communicate clearly. I have a good friend who was very talented. He wanted to be a policeman. And he did well on the scores on the test, but he failed the interview simply because he was unable to articulate any answers to the questions that they asked him. He just had very, very, very poor communication skills. We strongly encourage you to practice this. You should get a good friend or a spouse and you go through a list of questions and we’re going to talk about that next week, in next week’s episode where you can get hold of some of those, and practice some of the answers ahead of time so that you should become comfortable with expressing yourself.

Next one, poor voice and poor grammar. Work hard at this, practice in front of a mirror. If you have a hard time speaking before other people or in groups you need to practice, practice, practice, practice, because your chances at the job rise and fall on a job interview. And so you want to articulate carefully, you want to speak clearly, you want to use proper grammar, you want to be able to express yourself with a voice that is not irritating and that may require some practice on your part. It’s okay. Go ahead and practice that, join Toastmasters if they have a chapter in your area, learn how to speak properly and how to speak clearly.

Next, no career plan. If your resume points out no career plan, no purpose or no goals, or when they ask you that question and you have no career plan, no purpose and no goals, that tends to torpedo your job chances. If you’re going nowhere you can almost be certain you are not going to go anywhere there.

Next one, you lack enthusiasm and confidence. Some people are normally outgoing, they’re very expressive. Other people are quite reserved, they speak softly, they speak carefully, they speak measurably. You want to make certain that you at least inspire the person you’re interviewing with with your enthusiasm and confidence. If you appear to be haphazard, if you appear to be unmotivated, if you appear to be so casual about job prospects that you don’t care whether you get it or not, or what happens to you or not, that’s finished, torpedo your chances.

Next one, failure to look the interviewer in the eye. Now, I want to put this in with a caveat because in some cultures looking a supposed superior in the eye is the wrong thing to do. So in this you want to be sensitive to the culture of the person that you’re interviewing with. One of the organizations where we work with in the East Africa, in preparing their young people to go out on the job force, we have to deal with three perspective types of employers there, and they all want certain things because they come from different cultures. So you want to look at the interviewer, you want to respond to the interviewer based on the culture of that interviewer, of that company, in the country in which you exist.

And the next one goes along with this, and that is an inappropriate handshake. In this part of the world a strong firm handshake is appropriate. However, when we first started our work many years ago on the Navajo nation that was not the case. Strong handshakes were not the custom of the culture there. So you need to find out what the custom of the culture is in the country in which you are applying for your job and do the right thing. It’s an appropriate handshake, not a strong one unless that’s appropriate, not a limp one unless that’s appropriate. Find out what it is.

The next one is a no-no. Showing up late to the interview. Boy, you don’t want to do that. Organize yourself, we talked about this in episode number six of our series, so you might want to go back and look at that. You want to be there at least 10 minutes early, we recommend 15 minutes early. And just be prepared, you can go over in your head, your know you can go over the answers to the questions you practiced, you can go over your resume again, that sort of thing. Do not show up late, that will torpedo your chances before you get started.

Next one, if you get up at the end of your interview and you just simply walk out, you probably will not be walking back. You want to make certain that you thank the interviewer for his or her time. You’re going to send a thank you note later on, but right there at the conclusion of the interview, you stand up, you shake their hand again and you say thank you very much for your time I really appreciate it. You want to be grateful.

The next thing that is going to sabotage your chances is asking no questions.

In episode number six we had an episode on researching the company ahead of time because you need to research the company so you learn to ask some questions. Again, next week I’m going to be presenting to you a package that has all of these details in it, so that you can be well prepared to stand out from everybody else when it comes your job interviews. So standby for that episode next week.

And then in episode two we talked about the researching the company and showing a lack of knowledge about the company or the position that you are applying for is very important. Now, sometimes you may be applying for more than one position in more than one company, so it’s very important that you keep these things straight. So you need to understand the company that you’re working for and the position that you’re looking for in that particular company, so that you can speak intelligently and articulately.

Next week we’re going to present to you a complete package of everything you need to stand out from all the competition and get the job that you want. We’ll see you then.