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Don’t Say “We” In Your Job Interview

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Recently a friend called me for HR advice.  Apparently he interviewed for an acting/relief management job after many years on the front line with several commendations but was bypassed.  He was still in the union and the acting management job was still a union job (like many union shops the acting management is a interim management job.  It allows unionized staff to try out the managment role without leaving the union).

After our discussion, it was revealed that the reason he was bypassed was due to a poor interview. The feedback given by HR was that specifically in the interview when the candidate falied to answer the behavioral questions.  When he was asked to give an example when he displayed a certain behavior, he responded by using “we”.  As such the interviewer and hiring manager was not clear no what the candidate’s role was in the situaiton.

In my years of interviewing candidates, I have seen first hand many candidates trying to look like a team players by using the word “we”. While this works in everyday conversation, it does not serve you well in interviews.  The reason is that when you use the word “we”, the hiring manager does not know what your role was in a situation.  For example, the inteviewer asks to “tell me about a time when you resolved conflict with a client?”  and you respond, “we had a big client …..we had to do this and that ….we ended up saving the account…..” and so forth.  In this example, you can see how it is virtually impossible for the HR and the hiring manager to determine what the candidate’s role was.

In an interview, it is your chance to shine, so use the word “I”.  Anyway this is interview basics and is covered in our interview course.

So until our next post, we wish you much luck and success in your career search.