NAME-DROPPING during an interview– be very careful!

In job interviews, there is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance.

One behavior that can rub interviewers the wrong way and backfire is name-dropping – the practice of mentioning important people during a conversation as a means of impressing others.

The Washington Post carried a story in their business section entitled “Be careful about dropping names during job interviews” which covered the pros and cons of name-dropping during an interview. It mentioned that, in job interviews, there is a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance.  And dropping names without any tact can come across as egoistic and pretentious. Candidates who excessively name-drop may also be perceived as insecure.

Here is an example of what we mean. If you share who you know or met in an impulsive and unsolicited fashion – “One of my golfing buddies is the VP of strategic sourcing initiatives” or “I know Josh, who leads your sales and trading team” – then the interviewer may perceive this as a ploy or feel you’re using one-upmanship.

While knowing someone at  a hiring company is a good thing, conveying this knowledge must be done in a positive way.  Here are some tips on how to do it:

  • Be discreet.  Don’t share names until you’ve created sufficient rapport and you can name-drop in response to a question. For instance, if asked how you heard about a job, talk about how you spoke with person X at a recent networking event and his/her willingness to share career advice really made a good impression on you.
  • Keep it believable
  • Use sparingly.  Dropping too many names may convey that you’re a network fanatic. You also really risk coming off as arrogant.
  • Demonstrate forethought.  If you plan on mentioning a mutual connection, let him or her know ahead of time in case the interviewer decides to contact the individual.

At Key Corporate Services, we work closely with a candidate preparing  him/her for the interview.  And, our close relationships with employers enable us to present your key networking contacts (if you desire) to that employer ” in the most favorable light” before your interview with the employer.

From The Key Corporate Services Blog Team