Job interviews are one of the most nerve-wracking and stressful events many of us must deal with. Job interviewing mistakes are something we can avoid.
Did you know that on average 33% of hiring managers decide whether to hire a candidate within the first 90 seconds of meeting them? It’s a crucial time to make a strong first impression.
Think about it: hiring managers will only have a physical impression of you based upon what happens in one short interview. Reason enough to prepare yourself and prevent making any rookie job interviewing mistakes.
In this article we will show you the top ten most common mistakes people make in job interviews. We’ll show you how to avoid these and make a solid impression that can get you hired. Let’s get into it!
10 Common Job Interviewing Mistakes
1. Unprofessional Clothing and Appearance
Sorry, but in the interview world hiring managers have every right to judge a book by its cover. Surveys have noted that more than half of hiring managers have eliminated a candidate from the running because of their appearance or dress.
When you go on interviews, dress professionally or at least wear your Sunday best! Wouldn’t you want to hire somebody with sensible clothing and good hygiene standards? This said, it’s worth checking out the company culture on this one. Whether it’s pervasively formal business attire or casual cool, get a heads up on what people are wearing.
2. Not Practicing for Interview Questions
You’re going to get a variety of questions, including some that may stump you. According to international business coach Chris Westfall:
“In every job interview, you will be asked situational questions – questions that ask you to describe what you did in a particular circumstance. The interviewer will offer a variation on this theme: “Tell me about a time when…” or “How would you describe a situation where….” The purpose of this line of questioning is to allow the interviewer to see your thought processes and understand how you behaved (typically under pressure).”
It doesn’t matter which type of questions you prepare for. The purpose of general interview practice is that it readies your mind for interview questions and the lateral thinking that is needed to answer them.
3. Not Doing Your Research
They won’t be terribly impressed with you if you walk into an interview without having done your due diligence. Hiring managers will smell this a mile away. Take the time to research the company, the people, the position, and come up with relevant questions that pertain to the process. You should have enough information to ask a few questions and elucidate how you would add value.
4. Talking too Much
This is one of the most typical job interviewing mistakes. You’re nervous, which can make you chatty. You’re uncomfortable with any conversational pauses, so you want to fill them.
Nobody wants to hear your life story. They want to know about your work experience and what your future goals are, so they can see if you are a good fit for the company. Any firm counts new hires as an investment. Hiring managers are looking for candidates that are succinct and describe how their work history has prepared them for the position.
Remember that the best interviews flow like a good conversation. It’s a good opportunity to build rapport while learning more about a position. It’s an even better opportunity when you showcase what you can bring to the table.
5. Lying in Any Way
The truth will set you free! CareerBuilder did a study that noted how an entire 51% of hiring managers have caught a lie on a resume. It’s never a good idea to stretch the truth on your resume. Is a lie worth it on a resume when you must keep it up during the interview, and throughout your entire employment, if you get hired? That’s what we would call digging a hole!
Keep in mind that employers often conduct background checks, call your previous employers, and check your references. It’s a much better deal to be upfront about your experience, employment, education, and anything else that comes up. Picture yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Wouldn’t it turn you off, if you caught a candidate lying?
6. Not Asking Questions
Show a bit of interest! Take an interest in the company, job, and the hiring manager. Find out about who they are as a person. You’d be surprised by how a little bit of sincere small talk can build rapport while showing that you’re an authentic person.
If the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, make sure that you have solid follow up questions about the position. Or at the very least have some prepared general questions to ask about the role and company. Having thoughtful follow up questions attests to your professionalism and shows your eagerness for the role.
7. Failing to Exercise (Your Mind!)
Aside from practicing for interview questions, it’s a good idea to practice some mental exercises before the big interview. While it’s great that people are keen on physical exercise, we often forget that our brain is a muscle also!
One great tip is to practice or take a cognitive ability test. This is a fantastic way to exercise your deductive, numeral, logical, and verbal reasoning skills. It’s also a good addition to your resume to showcase your cognitive aptitude – especially when these tests are increasingly being used by employers to screen candidates.
8. Rolling in Late
First impressions are key, right? Imagine the impression you’ll
make on a hiring manager if you arrive 15 minutes late. You’re huffing and
puffing, out of breath, and apologizing profusely because the traffic was so unexpectedly
bad today. It happens to people a lot, but not if they allow plenty of travel
time just in case something happens.
Simply put – manage your time. There shouldn’t be any reason that you’re late. Give yourself ample time. It’s okay to arrive early. Unless there’s a widespread natural disaster or Aunt Sally died, you should be able to get there on time.
9. Using your Phone
While this may seem like an obvious one, don’t answer calls
or text during your interview. To be safe, turn the phone on silent prior to
heading in. You want to be focused on the task at hand, not fumbling around
while you try to mute an incoming phone call.
Resist your temptation to answer your phone. It’s rude and indicates that you’re easily distracted . . . two undesirable traits in any job candidate. Be present and engaged in the conversation.
10. Badmouthing Past Employers
It’s best not to talk smack about your ex-boss, co-workers,
or previous company. You might be surprised about how word gets around. It’s
also very telling about your personality if you only have negative things to
say about people. You want your potential employer to know that you work well
with people, no matter the situation.
If you left an employer on a bad note, be tactful and describe how you overcame the obstacles instead of merely spouting negativity. This simultaneously showcases your lateral thinking abilities and how well they complement your people skills.
There you have it! With some planning, a little practice and good common sense, you can avoid the above 10 common interviewing mistakes. Happy job hunting!
More About Job Interviewing and Executive Job Search
About the guest author
Darcy Cudmore is a journalism graduate who now enjoys content writing. When he isn’t writing, you’ll find him with a Stephen King book in his hands while cheering on the Ottawa Senators. See his work at DarcyAllanPr.com.