Job interview: why you shouldn’t criticize your former company
Naively, during the job interview, you think to please your interviewer by criticizing the company in which you work. Serious mistake. Here’s why.
Caricatural example: you are currently product manager for detergent X (in company A). Furious at not being raised as quickly as you would like, you approach competing company B for a similar position, laundry.
Your approach could not be more logical, since the skills you have developed within your current company are likely to interest company B. You get an appointment.
As the interview progresses, you feel more and more comfortable. Your interviewer seems interested, he is rather friendly. Your tongue loosens. Naively, you think to please him by criticizing the company in which you work. Isn’t this the best way to make him understand that you want to join his company and work with him? Won’t you please him by criticizing a company he must hate (Company A and Company B, given their close competition, are supposed to be at loggerheads, right?). Your success is assured, do you think…wrongly. Because there is a good chance that this speech will turn against you.
They won’t believe you
Your interviewer, who was not born yesterday, will have a lot of trouble believing you or considering your statements to be sincere, especially if you have spent five years in company A. The recruiter will have a hard time believing that you hated so much, an organisation to which you devoted so many years of your young existence.
Your interviewer has nothing to do with your resentment
The mercenary spirit is gaining a strong foothold in more and more companies. Executives are less and less in love with their company. They no longer spend the core part of their professional life at any single place and do not adhere to its values as in the past. They move more and more often from one company to another, with the sole objective of their career plan. There is a good chance that your interviewer is part of this “new dominant race”. Do you really think then that you will upset him by declaring your love for his company and your hatred of the competing company? Your speech may well leave him unmoved.
You risk devaluing yourself
By criticizing your former company in front of recruiters for your new company, you devalue yourself at the same time. You announce “Company A’s working methods are not efficient, they don’t know how to do that, etc.”. You forget for a fleeting moment that you come from this company, and that, in the current state of things, your interlocutor completely considers you a product and contributor to the state of your previous company culture As an employee, you endorse all its virtues and all its faults. If it’s that bad, then you certainly can’t be a good recruit for company B. Company B wants to hire the best in the market. You should understand that the more the company in which you worked was dynamic, brilliant and “successful”, the more your application will appeal to them.
By criticizing your company, you finally show yourself in a bad light. You pass – rightly – for an absolutely negative person.
Don’t disparage anyone
Also, don’t start putting down the people you’ve worked with (like, “They didn’t give me enough responsibility” or “Their incompetence was obvious” ). Your interlocutor will have the impression that you are blaming others (if you have not been completely successful in this position, it is because of your ineptitude). He will also suspect you of having trouble fitting into a team, etc.
In reality, whatever the question addressed, it is in your interest to be as positive as possible!