There is a tendency to avoid saying “no” in an interview as it will be misinterpreted as being negative and in general interviewers are looking for positive “can do” people to join their organisation. However, on certain occasions, it is necessary to say “no”, normally delivered in a polite manner. Below are examples of some of these occasions:
1. You are asked would you do something illegal in nature
The best advice is it give a resounding no to this one.
2. When you are informed that the job you are being interviewed for is vastly different to the one being advertise
This can arise occasionally where a job is misrepresented. If you feel you do not possess the skills, experience or interest in this new position, you should politely say “no” from the start, rather than wasting your time doing an interview for a job which is vastly different to the one being advertised.
3. When you are asked to furnish confidential information on a previous employer
The busy tack on this occasion is to politely say no and say that you are subject to a non-disclosure agreement. If you were to furnish your interviewer with confidential information, who is to say you wouldn’t do it again and they could be the victims on the next occasion.
4. When the next interview requires a presentation scheduled for the next morning
You have done very well in your first interview and your interview informs you that he would like you to make a comprehensive presentation to senior management the next morning. When you are asked about your availability and you know in your heart that you will not have adequate time to put your best foot forward, you should politely decline and propose an alternative time. For example, without using the word no, you could say something like “Unfortunately I’m unavailable tomorrow morning but I could do Wednesday afternoon, if that works for you”
Having the ability to politely say “No” in certain circumstances is a trait most employers should admire. It displays strength of character, honesty, assertiveness and individuality; traits that you should be proud of.
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