What shouldn’t you do when interviewing? Here are the most common job interview mistakes a candidate for employment can make.
It’s easy to make these mistakes without even realizing it and many of them are more common than you might think!
Take the time to prepare before your interview, so you don’t have to stress out about blunders after it.
Read on for the top 10 most common job interview mistakes, and how to avoid making them.
1. Look professional
When you interview a job, it’s imperative to look professional and polished. Although your attire may vary based on the position you’re applying for – for example, you should wear business casual clothing to an interview for a non-professional job or start-up casual garb to an interview at a small start-up company – it’s important look well-dressed and put together, no matter what the company.
2. Be on time
Everyone knows that first impressions are very important in landing a job, but did you know that you can make a bad first impression before you even arrive at your interview?
Running late not only suggests poor time management skills, but shows a lack of respect for the company, the position and even your interviewer.
Go the extra length to make sure that you aren’t late, and arrive on time, or even early. Budget your time so that you make it to the interview five to ten minutes early. That way, if something unforeseen comes up on your way over to your interview, you’ll have some cushion time.
3. Silence your phone
Before you get to your interview, silence your phone. Texting during your interview is not only rude and disruptive, but it’s a pretty clear message to your potential employer that getting the job is not your top priority.
For the same reasons, don’t answer calls (and certainly don’t make calls!) during the interview. To resist the temptation to check your phone, stow your phone in your bag before the interview.
4. Get to know the company you’re interviewing for
Don’t let your potential employer stump you with the question, “What do you know about this company?”
It’s one of the easiest questions to ace, if only you do some research before your interview.
Background information including company history, locations, divisions, and a mission statement are available in an “About Us” section on most company websites. Review it ahead of time, then print it out and read it over just before your interview to refresh your memory. Also check the company’s LinkedIn page and Facebook page, if they have one.
5. Know your resume
Even if you have submitted a resume when you applied for the job, you may also be asked to fill out a job application. Make sure you know the information you will need to complete an application including dates of prior employment, graduation dates, and employer contact information.
It’s understandable that some of your older experiences may be hard to recall. Review the facts before your interview. It can be helpful to keep a copy of your resume for yourself to refer to during your interview, although certainly don’t use it as a crutch.
Of course, you should never “fudge” any facts on your resume. The more truthful you are on your resume, the better you will be able to discuss your past experience during your interview.
6. Keep focused
Don’t let yourself zone out during an interview. Make sure you are well-rested, alert and prepared for your interview.
Getting distracted and missing a question looks bad on your part. If you zone out, your potential employer will wonder how you will be able to stay focused during a day on the job, if you can’t even focus during one interview.
If you feel your attention slipping away, make the effort to stay engaged. Maintain eye contact, lean forward slightly when talking to your interviewer, and make an active effort to listen effectively.
7. Keep your answers concise
There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on… The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused and don’t ramble – simply answer the question.
Don’t get sidetracked and start talking about your personal life – your spouse, your home life or your children are not topics you should delve into. No matter how warm, welcoming or genial your interviewer may be, an interview is a professional situation – not a personal one.
8. Be prepared to answer questions
Another mistake job applicants often make is not being prepared to answer questions.
Your interviewer is probably going to ask you more than just the basics about where you worked, and then. To get a feel of your aptitude for a job, your interviewer is going to take advantage of the allotted time and flesh out everything he or she needs to know about you as an employee.
9. Don’t badmouth your current / former boss or colleagues
Don’t make the mistake of badmouthing your boss or coworkers. It’s sometimes a smaller world than you think and you don’t know who your interviewer might know, including that boss who is an idiot… You also don’t want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren’t the best.
When interviewing for a job, you want your employer to know that you can work well with other people and handle conflicts in a mature and effective way, rather than badmouthing your coworkers or talking about other people’s incompetence.
10. Ditch the coffee
This is known to happen so it’s definitely worth mentioning.
Ditch the coffee or soda before you enter your interview. If you need to fuel up, do it before you get to the interview.
Not only is it unprofessional to enter with a drink in hand, but during your interview, you should be focused on the task at hand: making a good impression, answering questions, maintaining eye contact with your potential employer, and paying attention throughout the entire interviewing process.
Having a drink in front of you creates the opportunity for distraction – fiddling with the cup, or missing a question while taking a sip, for example. And although it may be a relatively unlikely possibility, bringing a drink into your interview also gives way to other unsightly accidents – like spilling the drink on the desk, on you, or even your interviewer!