So, job hunting is going great! You’ve successfully overcome the first challenge, to create an attractive resume that potential employers actually read (Yaaay!). You’ve sent your resume to a certain number of interesting companies. Some never got back to you, but others actually responded positively and invited you for an interview. So, there is no room for making any common interview mistakes.
You need to impress these people, but not sound overly confident…You want to show you own the ad’s key requirements, but not appear “overqualified”, which is actually slang for “he/she is a know-it-all”.
Common interview mistakes to watch out
It’s all complicated, and this is why we decided to discuss the subtle art of interviews and how to master them. In this article, we are going to explain those subtleties by illustrating common interview mistakes that candidates make when under pressure, anxiety, or just plain rookie-ness!
Don’t you worry about it, once again, we’ve been there and got you covered!
Mistake #1: Showing up late!
This is an obvious “no-brainer”, but happens more often than interviewers would appreciate! Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that being late for an interview can be the sole reason for a company to reject you, no matter how many diplomas you hold in rocket science.
Punctuality is the first test you need to pass when being evaluated for a position. It shows that you are prepared and appreciate the interviewer’s time; plus, it’s common manners!
This is the reason why, before heading for the interview, you need to study the route you’re taking, estimate the time it takes to get there, and arrive 20-30 mins earlier, just to be sure. Google maps are your friend here, as it’s perfect to help you decide which route is faster by car, means of public transport, and foot. So, use this absolutely free application, and don’t make this common interview mistake and be late for your interview appointment.
Mistake #2: Being underdressed
First impressions matter in the business world. We know it’s superficial to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, it’s more about showing you made an effort to appear professional. This is especially true if you’re about to become a member of a multinational corporation.
Big companies traditionally have a dress code; do your research about the company and find out details about their dress code.
The next step is to choose your outfit beforehand so that you don’t panic over it on the morning of the interview. This will also help with common interview mistake #1, so you won’t have one more reason to be late. Choose pieces you feel comfortable and confident wearing (your fancy pants are off-limits this day!).
Mistake #3: Knowing nothing about the company
Apart from the research, you did on the company’s dress code; it’s obvious you need to take it further in order to impress your interviewer. Browse through their website and social media profile to get a sense of what they do and the company’s overall philosophy.
It is almost certain that the interviewer will ask you questions inherent to the company’s industry, so better be prepared because no one likes long, uncomfortable pauses.
In case you haven’t done your homework, don’t pretend otherwise; it’s a huge “No, No” coming up with answers that are simply inaccurate. What you can do, is ask follow-up questions to help you articulate an answer so the interviewer can assess your way of thinking.
Mistake #4: Exaggerating your capabilities (aka lying)
This should be a given. First, there’s absolutely no reason to lie about your educational background or your experience because it will show during the first week of your new job. Second, it’s useless to exaggerate or fabricate them because any company that takes itself seriously will ask for credentials from you.
Hence, don’t succumb to this temptation because you’ll be the one losing your job and self-respect after all.
Keep your resume clean from unnecessary details and please, learn the specifics by heart so the interviewer doesn’t think you don’t remember your own life (we know there are things you wish you could forget, though!).
Mistake #5: Gossiping about previous employers
Speaking of which; No trash-talk about your previous employers. Even if they were the worst, try to come up with more diplomatic answers than “He taught me how slavery feels like” to rather something like “There was no more room for growth for me there, but I took some valuable lessons” (the lessons of unpaid work, long hours and disrespectful behavior that is, BUT don’t tell them!)
Furthermore, keep in mind you must not, under any circumstances, reveal company information during your interviews. Refrain from giving details and especially regarding financial information. Chances are, your last contract had a clause forbidding you to do that even after termination! So, this common interview mistake does not only damage your chances of getting the job but also your reputation.
Mistake #6: Using informal tone/language
It’s only natural that you don’t want to let your anxiety sabotage this whole thing, but don’t act all laid back as a defense, either! This interview is probably the only chance you’ll get to show your character and your good manners.
By all means, be courteous and keep your tone formal and friendly. You want to come across as a pleasant person and capable of making good, interesting points.
This is when the interviewers decide whether they can have you around at the office. This is also when they decide whether you’re the right person to be in contact with customers and if you can function well under (reasonable levels of) stress. So, impress them with your coolness but don’t take it too far, or you may sound arrogant, or even worse, rude.
Mistake #7: Interrupting your interviewer
This is important to keep in mind for any conversation you’ll ever have, but critical for interviews. It’s simple, the HR manager does the asking; you do the answering! Stick to this plan and don’t deviate unless the interviewer asks you whether you have any questions, usually at the end of the process
Interrupting your interviewer by speaking, or by having your phone ringtone on, is a big fail. In both cases, you come across as disrespectful and unprofessional.
Make sure, before you enter the interview room, that your phone is on silent mode (no vibration) and relax. Interrupting is easy when you have a lot going on your mind, so leave it all at the door.
Follow these tips, avoid these common interview mistakes, and you’ll experience a smooth process. The rest relies on your capabilities and the company’s objectives. Good luck!