Whether you are new to the workforce or a seasoned veteran, looking for a new job can be very intimidating. We all know that acing an interview isn’t as simple as one, two, three, but with a few easy tips, that daunting interview will be more like a stroll through the park. Here are some costly mistakes you want to avoid in an interview.
Not Doing Your Research
You can save everyone’s time by doing your homework on a company before even applying for the job. Knowing the hours of operation, the public perception of the company, and even asking current employees what a normal day looks like are all good ideas. Not knowing these things or what exactly you are interviewing for can lead to a failed interview. A potential employer’s time is just as valuable as yours, so be sure to not waste it and do some research beforehand.
Not Knowing What You Want
After doing some research, make sure to take some time to think about what it is you want out of the job and what you want out of the interview. As much as the interview is to help the employer learn more about you, it is also about putting you in a position where you can walk away knowing more about the job than when you walked in. Not knowing the specifics of the job can lead to a waste of time for both parties.
Relying on Your Comfort Zone
A group style interview may mean that you are interviewing alongside other candidates, or that you are interviewed by multiple staff members. Both situations are uncomfortable, but they both require your full attention to leave a lasting impression. Don’t get too comfortable just because you’re not the one speaking in this make-or-break conversation.
Not Always Giving an Answer
Whether the interview is your first or your fifth, always answer the questions. There are very few wrong answers during the “get-to-know-each-other” portion of the conversation. Over-thinking questions can lead to a lost train-of-thought and a mind blank, but there is nothing wrong with taking a few extra seconds to gather your thoughts.
Not Having Examples Ready for Behavioral Interview Questions
This closely relates to the last tip, but it can be a bit harder for those with little work experience versus those with plenty. In her 5 Biggest Job Interview Mistakes article on Linkedin, career coach Lori Bumgarner writes “Behavioral questions are asked not to see how you would potentially handle a certain situation, but instead to see how you’ve handled that situation in the past. This is because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.” This question is a great opportunity for you to paint a picture of how you handle situations.
Don’t Answer in Generalities
Specific and definitive answers are the only way to go in an interview. You should be able to walk away knowing what questions were asked of you, while your interviewer should know exactly what your answers were. You shouldn’t forget your personality when answering questions regarding your interest, as this can help you and your interviewer see if you’ll be a good fit.
The last thing you want is to be distracted – or distract your interviewer – during an interview. Avoid messing with something in your hands, rambling sentences, not making eye contact, and slouching. These things can make you seem uninterested or not confident in yourself, neither of which you want the interviewer to perceive you as. The best path is to have a straight posture, a focused, yet relaxed, demeanor, and to stay on topic.
Not Having Questions or Notes Prepared
An extremely common mistake candidates make is showing up to an interview empty-handed, both physically and mentally. A great way to stand out, while also giving you a better idea of what you’re signing up for, is to prepare a few questions ahead of time. Also, be ready to take notes. Think of unique questions other candidates probably aren’t asking like “What are the company’s work ethics?” or “What opportunities will I be given to climb the career ladder?”. Questions like these are an effective way to show the interviewer your ambition to succeed and generate an interest in you as a hire.