Top 10 Job Interview Mistakes

 
Job Interview Mistakes
 
 
What Not to Do in an Interview
 
 
What should you avoid doing in an interview? Here are a list of mistakes, and blunders that will most likely get you in trouble during the job interviewing process. These types of errors may look like common sense material to you, but you’d be surprised to know how many job candidates don’t ever get a call back because of one or more of these interview blunders.
 
Good preparation is a good way of making sure these types of things don’t become a problem in your job interviews.
 
 
1. Dress Inappropriately
 
The very first thing your interviewer usually comes in contact with, is your appearance. The minute you walk through the door, within a few seconds, the interviewer forms an impression about you. Obviously, wearing the wrong attire will most likely kill your chances of getting the job offer. It’s very important to have a sense of the appropriate dress code for the job. If you are pursuing a corporate job, then a conservative suit for the interview is the safest choice. If you are interviewing for a job in the creative arena of web design, you may not want to show up looking like a banker, but you still can’t go wrong by being conservative in your attire for the job interview.
 
Make sure you do your homework – find out what people at the company dress like. You can ask one of the Human Resources representatives, or visit the parking lot or building entrance lobby early in the morning or between 4:45pm and 6:00pm when most people are leaving the company. This should give you a fairly decent idea about the acceptable dress code. Then take it up a notch for the job interview – dress a bit more conservative to be safe. Once hired, you can always adjust based on what you see in your department.
 
 

2. Don’t Do Your Homework on the Company
 
This might be one of the biggest job offer killers, and one of the easiest to prepare for, and yet, so many job candidates fail to do it. If the interviewer asks the question “So, What do you know about our company?”, and you are unable to answer it, your chances of ever seeing a second interview, let alone a job offer from that employer, are probably over. If the company is publicly traded, you have access to a wealth of information in the company’s annual report – mission statement, history, strategy, new business initiatives/direction, acquisitions, mergers, products and services, divisions, geographic reach, and financial data (know at least how much revenue and net profit the company produces yearly).
 
The company’s website and press releases are also good sources of information, especially if it’s a private company. Make sure you print this information and review it to commit some of the key elements to memory. It’ll make you look smart. Review it again, right before your job interview to refresh your memory.
 
 
3. Poor Interpersonal Skills
 
Your presence, the energy you exude, the eye contact, the tone of your voice, and your handshake, are all critical elements in your communication with the interviewer. If you engage each person you meet at the company you are interviewing with confidently and warmly, you are sending a strong positive message. Sometimes the non-verbal signals can speak louder then your words, and create a very desirable and comfortable impression about you.
 
So remember to breathe deeply, make good eye contact, carry a pleasant facial expression, shake hands firmly, and introduce yourself by speaking clearly and loud enough to project a confident first impression. This creates a good “entrance”, even before you start the actual job interview.
 
 

4. Way Too Much Talking
 
For most people, a nervous experience like interviewing can make them talk, and talk, and talk. It is a nervous defense mechanism, of which most people are not even aware while it’s happening. Sometimes, silence may be a bit scary, and one may think that the interviewer will not approve of us, so… let’s keep talking. Well, don’t do it. The interviewer doesn’t really need to hear some long dissertation about you with every interview question she poses. Keep your answers clear, succinct, and focused on the subject. Try not to ramble, or the interviewer might just decide that the job interview is done.
 
Most interviewers are gauging your behavior on every answer, and maybe even imagining you already working for the company, sitting in a meeting or visiting an important client – Would the style and behavior you are demonstrating in the interview be acceptable/impressive/embarrassing/unacceptable ? Remember, if you have a tendency to go on, and on, and on when you talk or answer interview questions, make sure you practice answering questions in a more concise fashion before you step into any job interview.
 
 

5. Lack for Responsiveness
 
A job interview is a unique opportunity to let the interviewer see your personality and energy come through in every answer you provide. So, answering interview questions with “yes”, “no”, or very few words, is not going to score points with the interviewer. If the interviewer feels like it takes effort to try to pull an answer out of you, obviously this will not help your cause. While you should not talk too much when providing answers, it’s important to stay engaged in a good dialogue with the interviewer, and part of that includes providing complete answers to all interview questions with examples, when appropriate.
 
 
6. The Facts Don’t Add Up
 
Make sure the information in your resume is accurate and true. If you were to provide an inconsistent answer during the job interview that doesn’t sync with the information on your resume, obviously the interviewer would have serious questions and concerns about all the information on your resume. So, make sure you know the chronology (e.g. dates) and details of each bullet point on your resume.
 
If the conversation touches upon a topic you’re not clear on, or knowledgeable about, be honest and admit you don’t know the answer. You can then explain a way of finding a solution, if appropriate. By doing this, you’ve just shown your problem-solving skills, instead of trying to talk about something you don’t know.
 
 
7. Not Listening to the Question
 
Another thing to watch for when sitting in a job interview – rather than jumping in right away with an answer, as soon as the interviewer finishes asking a question, take a moment to listen to the interview question, and take a moment to think about your answer before you respond. I’ve encountered job candidates that were so quick to start answering a question that they missed the point altogether – they provided the wrong answer. This is a huge red flag, and it will knock a candidate out of the interviewing process.
 
So, learn to stop your thoughts while the interviewer is framing a question and really listen to what is being asked. If in doubt, ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify the question. You’ll never be penalized for providing a good interview answer, even if the interviewer was asked to repeat the question. However, providing the wrong answer could do irreparable damage to your job candidacy. Listen, think, pause, then answer.
 
 
8. Talking “Trash” About Your Previous Company
 
Even if you worked for a horrible boss, and had a terrible working environment, denigrating and disparaging your previous employer will never make you look good. There is absolutely no upside to any negative talk about any of your previous employers or colleagues, so avoid it like the plague. There are professional and appropriate ways of describing the positive attributes of your previous employers, and why you were or are ready for the next challenge in a new position. This way, none of what you describe will cast a negative aura around you.
 
So, your colleagues were a bunch of backstabbers, your boss was a total jerk, you were never paid the bonus they had promised, after you delivered the results that were expected, and you hated getting up in the morning to go to a work place you hated so much. All of it may be true from your perspective, but you just don’t want to say it and leave the impression that you are a negative person. Most interviewers are smart enough to realize that sometimes work conditions warrant a job change, but no one wants to hire a complainer or a negative person.
 
Another risk with this kind of behavior in a job interview is the fact that the interviewer might have relationships at your previous company, or your previous company is a client, or a joint-venture partner. The world is not that big. So, play it safe and stay away from any negative talk about anything related to your professional past.
 
 
9. Leave Your Cell Phone On
 
This is a huge pet peeve of mine, and for just about any interviewer – the cell phone rings during the job interview. Believe it or not, some job candidates actually answer their cell phone during the interview. It goes without saying, if this happens during a job interview, you know the “game” is over.
 
Interview Job Question
 
If you drive to an interview, leave the cell phone in the car. If you take transportation, make sure it is turned off before you enter the building for a job interview. I didn’t say, put it on “vibrate” – turn it off. While we’re at it, do not bring food, drinks, or chewing gum. Showing up prepared, looking professional, with printed hard copies of your resume is all you need.
 
 

10. Do Not Follow Up
 
Setting yourself apart in the job interview process goes away beyond the interview itself. All your communications before and after the job interview do make a difference. So remember, whether you think you had an awesome interview, or one that makes you nervous to even think about it, do not forget to send a proper “thank you” note. It’s the right thing to do, and you come across professionally – even if you don’t want the job. Make it meaningful by referencing relevant topics discussed about the company during the interview for example, or any other pertinent subject that you and the interviewer shared.
 
Avoid sending out generic letters that could have been sent to any company, or worse yet, they look like some template you just downloaded from the web. Again, always customize the “thank you” letter with the interviewer and the specific job interview content discussed in mind.
 
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to say how interested you are in the job. If you want the job, go after it, without sounding desperate. This is one of the greatest weaknesses for a great majority of job candidates – they never ask for the job.

 
 


 
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