You did it! You impressed your future employer to the point where they called you in for a face-to-face job interview. This is your chance to go in there in person and shine. Now that you’ve been given this opportunity, it’s critical that you don’t waste it. Here are the top ten mistakes made in job interviews and how to avoid them.
1. Dressing Dreadfully: According to a Careerbuilder.com survey, the single most common mistake made by candidates in job interviews is inappropriate dress. It’s almost a certainty that you as the candidate will be expected to wear a business suit or other formal dress to the interview. The one exception to this rule can be high-tech companies, where anything other than jeans and flip flops might make you stick out like a sore thumb.
2. Badmouthing The Boss: Believe it or not, the second most common mistake made by a job candidate was badmouthing their former boss. How do you think your perspective boss will feel if they hear you harping on your prior boss? They’re going to wonder whether they’ll be the topic of conversation if you should happen to move on to another company in the future. Even if you have excellent reasons to be bitter, don’t do it.
3. Lack of Excitement: If you can’t get excited for the job interview, your interviewer will probably figure that you won’t be very enthusiastic while you’re on the job. Sit or stand up straight. Smile! Make sure the interviewer knows how excited you are to be interviewing for this particular job.
4. Acting Like a Know-It-All: There’s probably nothing that annoys an interviewer more than an applicant who comes in and is aggressive to the point of arrogance. While it’s very important to engage with your interviewer and ask questions, there’s a fine line between showing interest and monopolizing the conversation to the point where the interviewer can’t get a word in edge-wise. Be sure to let the interviewer finish their sentences, and try not to ramble on when you’re speaking.
5. Lack of Preparation: On the other hand, it’s vital that you prepare for a job interview by researching the company and preparing for all the typical questions you’re likely to be asked. If the interviewer asks a question you don’t know the answer to, you’re much better off telling them so than stuttering and mumbling as you grope for an answer.
6. Not Asking Pertinent Questions: An interview is a two-way street. You don’t want to ask a bunch of irrelevant questions at a job interview, but you do want to ask pertinent, well-thought-out questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
7. Late on Arrival: You never get a second chance… No doubt you’ve heard it before. If you’re going to be late, call and tell the interviewer, the sooner the better. If it’s earlier in the day, ask if you can reschedule for later that day.
8. Being Inarticulate: One of the questions you’re almost sure to hear at a job interview is “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Although it might seem like a simple question, more often than not it’s tough to articulate the answer, so practice. Rehearse the answers you plan to give for questions like this.
9. Being too General: When the interviewer asks you a question, do your best to give examples or connections that link your answer to the job under consideration. You’re usually better served with concise, specific answers rather than longer, rambling answers that don’t necessarily apply to the job you’re seeking.
10. Asking about Salary: Don’t be too eager to talk salary. While it’s vital not to sell yourself short, you don’t want to make your salary requirements the centerpiece of the interview. If it doesn’t come up during the course of the interview, you can ask about the salary toward the end.