Mistake #1 Appearing uninterested[/dt_highlight] This drives the interviewer crazy. Most employers have more applicants than they need or want. If you aren’t demonstrably interested in them, they certainly aren’t interested in hiring you.
Try this! Demonstrate your interest in the company and the job. Show up on time, appropriately dressed. Turn off your smartphone. Ask intelligent questions that indicate you have done some research, but don’t ask a question that could be answered in 30 seconds with a Google search or a look at their website’s homepage.
Mistake #2 Being unprepared Obvious lack of preparation is an opportunity crusher, and lack of preparation usually becomes obvious very quickly.
Try this! Be prepared! Preparation will help you demonstrate your interest in them and the job. You will also perform better in the interview when you are prepared.
Successful preparation has several elements:
- Analyse the job description and your match with it. Write down every requirement and how you meet that requirement
- Then, determine your accomplishments that align with those requirements. Write down your accomplishments, quantified as much as possible, to help you remember them
- Think of situations where you have demonstrated that you meet this job’s requirements, and make a note of them. These are ‘stories’ you can share, briefly, in the interview to show that you meet the requirements. They will be particularly useful if you are asked, ‘Tell me about a time when…’
- Know your answers to the standard interview questions, ‘What do you know about us?’ and ‘Why do you want to work here?’
- Research the employer and, if possible, the interviewer
- Know (and implement) the logistics for getting to the interview on time
Mistake #3 Sharing too much information Sometimes, people have a whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth mindset in a job interview, so they ‘spill the beans’ in answer to every question. Not smart or useful! Now, I’m not recommending telling any lies, but I am recommending that you avoid boring the interviewer and blowing an opportunity by sharing too much information. If they want more details, they’ll ask.
Mistake #4 Negative body language If you never smile, have a limp handshake, and don’t make eye contact with the people you meet at the employer’s location – especially with the interviewer – you’ll come across as too shy or simply not interested.
Mistake #5 Not having good questions or asking the wrong questions at the wrong time To an employer, no questions = no interest. As bad as having no questions is asking the wrong questions. During the first interview, asking questions only about salary, promotion, vacation and benefits are not usually well-received. Those questions apparently indicate that you are just interested in specific personal benefits rather than the job in question.
Try this! Ask the questions that occurred to you as you were doing your pre-interview research, as you talked with the people during the interview, or as you observed people in the location. Ask for details about the job; what an average day is like, if the job is new or being filled because the previous employee was promoted, etc.
Mistake #6 Not asking the next-steps questions Many job seekers leave the interview(s) with no idea what will happen next in the hiring process. They also often don’t know who is the best person to contact as well as when and how to contact that person.
Try this! As the interview ends, ask what are the next steps in the hiring process. Find out who your post-interview contact is and when and how to contact this person. Note the email address and / or the phone number carefully, particularly if you don’t have have that person’s business card.
Mistake #7 Failing to follow-up Often, applicants leave at the end of the interview(s) with a sigh of relief that the interview is over, and they get on with their lives. They leave and wait to receive an offer of employment.
Try this! Remember this is a demonstration of the quality of your work as an employee. To stand out from the crowd of candidates, immediately send your thank you notes to each interviewer. Also, send a thank you to the external recruiter, if one was involved, or the employee or networking contact who referred you for the opportunity, if you were referred.