There are some interview mistakes that should not need to be explained. If you are answering texts, dressed poorly, arrive late, or use profanity you should probably save yourself (and the recruiter) some time and just leave. There are, however, some less obvious mistakes that can impede your chances of getting the job you put so much effort into applying for. Read on and make sure you aren’t making these common interview mistakes.
Talking Too Much
This is a big one. Often times we are nervous (understandably) going into interviews. So, what do we do besides sweating, laughing awkwardly, and looking around? We talk. A lot! You will be asked many questions so be sure to keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused and don’t ramble—simply answer the question. Regardless of how jovial your interviewer may be, keep in mind the nature of the interview is professional. Don’t carry on about your personal life (or theirs) and keep the small talk, small. Being nervous can increase our tendency for verbosity so if this is you, bring in a token (something in your pocket, shoe etc.) that will remind you to keep the rambling to a minimum.
Having No Knowledge of the Company
This is a very easy mistake to make and also a very easy one to avoid. Before you attend the interview research the company’s history, executive team, milestones, and mission. Also be sure to look at their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Better yet, prepare a specific question for the interview about a project or achievement of the company and ask for more details during the interview.
Not Being Prepared to Answer Questions
It is likely you will get asked more than the basic ‘about you’ questions. Have a list of prepared answers to common interview questions and have a list of your own to ask the employer. This shows engagement and professional competence. Even better, when you come with pre-prepared questions you help to frame the interview in your favor and take the pressure off of you.
Not Knowing Your Resume
Before you attend an interview review your resume. Ideally, your resume should be up-to-date and honest. Often, you’ll need to fill out a job application in addition to the submission of your resume. Be sure to align what you’ve written in your application to what is on your resume.
Heading into an interview you should be well rested and as relaxed as possible. There are many meditation exercises on YouTube to help calm your mind and improve your concentration. Zoning out and missing out on questions asked by the interviewer doesn’t leave and overly favorable impression. To show you’re engagement don’t be afraid to repeat the question back to the interviewer to ensure you understand exactly what they are asking.
Having Poor Body Language
Walking in like a zombie is not a good idea. Eye contact (not excessive), good posture, relaxed shoulders, and a confident and firm handshake go a long way in making a lasting impression.
Speaking Negatively, Especially about Past Employers
Ideally you want to be as optimistic as you can. An employer wants to see a candidate who has a solutions-oriented mindset and is willing to solve problems rather than fixate on them. Speak highly of your surroundings and circumstances. Avoid directly badmouthing your former boss or coworkers. It’s often a smaller world than we realize, especially with social media, so you never know who the recruiter may know. Your recruiter would like to see that you can handle conflict in a professional and productive way without huge emotional side effects. Be prepared for questions which may ask how you handled conflict and make sure you have constructive and well-articulated responses.
Interviews don’t have to be nerve wracking. At the end of the day you are talking to another human-being: the small things can make a big difference! Don’t be afraid to be a little personable and lighten the mood. Take advantage of the fact that you were invited to the interview for a reason. You clearly have some qualities they are interested in. You don’t need to over-sell yourself. A large part of the interview is getting to know your personality. Are you likeable? How do you communicate? How might you fit in at the organization? Just be professional, composed, confident, and friendly. This will go a long way.