Common Interview Mistakes

Interviewing for A Job? Here are 6 Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job

It may take you some time to learn how to navigate the structure of an interview and show off your professional strengths while answering questions. Like most interpersonal interactions, job interviews can be quite subjective and tricky to manage.

Your skills to ace an interview grow naturally as you practice them and gain more professional experience. However, in the hiring process, knowing what not to do in an interview is just as important as having a strong resume and solid references. Over the years, I have identified common mistakes that candidates make during the interview process that can limit their chances of making a great impression and getting that desired job offer

Arriving/joining the virtual interview late

Running late not only suggests poor time management skills, but also shows a lack of respect for the company, the position, and even the interviewer. Not to forget, arriving too late can irritate a hiring manager and disrupt their schedule.

Go the extra mile to make sure that you aren’t late and arrive on time, or better yet, sign on early. Manage your time appropriately so that you can make it to the interview five to ten minutes early. This can also help you to avoid or prevent any technical issues when signing in to your call that could cause additional delay.

Being long-winded and failing to sell yourself 

The job interview is an intellectual selling pitch based on your previous achievements. Failing to take ownership of your achievements is a big mistake. However, telling rambling stories decreases the opportunities you have to cover all of the ground you’d like to in the conversation. Communication skills are key in many positions, so the interviewer is likely assessing your ability to speak with clarity and brevity.

Formulating a list of accomplishments in advance prepares you to immediately and concisely respond to any questions about your work experience. Talk about your skills and achievements that connect directly with the responsibilities of the position that will make you seem like a great fit. At the same time, it is important not to brag to the point of arrogance and dominate the conversation.

Neglecting the “Biggest Weakness” question

Many candidates think this is a trick question and fail to give a direct answer. This may send the message that you aren’t self-aware, can’t handle constructive criticism, or aren’t taking the opportunity very seriously. But here’s the thing – as humans, we are not perfect. Just like everyone, you OBVIOUSLY have some weaknesses that you just aren’t aware of, or you’re hiding them. Both of these cases are a red flag for an employer.

Prepare a thoughtful, honest answer to this question with an explanation of how you’re working to improve. The key to answering this question is in demonstrating self-reflection and the realization that you are a work in progress.

Being distracted 

Many things can distract you during an interview, from answering your cell phone to thinking about an important chat message. If you are distracted, the interviewer may interpret this as a lack of interest.

Don’t let yourself zone out during an interview. Make sure you are alert and prepared. If you feel your attention slipping away, make an effort to stay engaged. Maintain eye contact, lean forward slightly, and make an active effort to listen effectively. A ringing cellphone is not appropriate for an interview. Turn it off.

Appearing uninterested

Communication goes beyond words. If you never smile during the interview, have a limp handshake, and don’t make eye contact with the interviewer you may come across as simply not interested. Remember, nothing hurts your chances of getting the job offer more than looking exhausted and yawning during an interview.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm in the company and the job. Thoroughly research the company and job you are interviewing for and why you want it. Depending on what type of position/company you’re applying for, tailor your tone and language. Also, don’t make the mistake of badmouthing your past employer, ex-boss, or coworkers. You want your future employer to know that you can handle conflicts in a mature and effective way, rather than badmouthing or talking about other’s incompetence.

Failing to ask questions

Every interview concludes with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. Usually, they want to make sure it’s a two-sided conversation. Be sure to end your interview on a strong note and avoid saying that you have no questions. The questions you ask often reveal your own thought process and what’s important to you. It also shows that you are excited about the opportunity and want to learn more. Not having any questions signals you aren’t curious or haven’t done your homework.

Ask questions to help you uncover as much as you can about the job’s role and responsibilities, in addition to the company culture and work environment. Throw out important questions like, “What does success look like in this role?” or “How would you describe your team’s work culture?”

Final Thought: Never assume that the job offer is “in the bag” simply because you were invited for an interview. What you do during a job interview is viewed as a “preview” of your work and the essence of your personality. Everything you say and do is being judged because they don’t know you. Show them you would be a great hire. Don’t make mistakes that can easily be avoided with prior planning and research.

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