Whether you are looking to land your first job or searching for a career change, acing the job interview is crucial. Yet, aspiring candidates often fumble and make mistakes which could have been avoided with a little bit of planning and interview preparation. From failing to do some homework on the company they are interviewing for and not having a clear idea on what makes them an eligible candidate the post advertised for, to acting desperate to impress the interviewers or simply being inattentive for that split second during the interview, the mistakes are many, which cost the candidates dearly.
Here are the five biggest mistakes that you should steer clear of during your job interview:
1. Failing to research the company and the post you have applied for
Employers often ask the candidates what they know about the company and what makes them suitable for the vacant post. Not knowing either or both shows you in poor light as it proves you to be either too arrogant or too disinterred in the job on offer. To avoid this pitfall, during your interview preparation for the first, go online to check the company website and its social media pages.
If you know someone on LinkedIn who is working or has worked for the company, seek some valuable insights. Get a clear idea of what their business is all about, the type of product or service they offer, their key clientele and primary stakeholders etc. You shouldn’t waste time memorizing their balance sheets or second quarter financials (but reading their annual report would help). Instead, get a general idea about the company. Make sure to do some homework that would let you describe the purpose of the job post advertised as well. Be ready to even tell what you can bring to the table. Remember that being unprepared in your job interview is the biggest sin, which you should avoid at all cost.
2. Badmouthing your previous or present job and/or employer
Whether you are trying to leave your present job or have already left it, being spiteful about it, your employer and the company shows you to be too vindictive. Talking about poor working conditions, a problematic or unreasonable manager, or a company that didn’t care about your professional growth, even when true, are best not told. After all, telling these things show you in poor light and prove you to be someone who can’t let go of the past. Such negativity also acts as a red flag for your potential employers as they would worry what you would tell about them or the job on offer if they hire you and you eventually decide to leave. So, refrain from bringing any negativity to the interview. Instead, try giving a positive spin to even the most reasonable of complaints during your interview preparation stage as that would help you when your interviewers discuss your present or previous employment.
3. Appearing uninterested or not focused
Fidgeting with your fingers or dress, keeping your cell phone on, or simply missing a few words or a question from the interviewer – all show that you aren’t too enthusiastic or eager to land the job. For your prospective employers, this is an annoying and frustrating thing since they feel wasting time interviewing you as appear the least bothered to take up the post. After all, most interviewers have more aspiring candidates lined up for the interview than what they need. Finding you not interested in them would certainly make them not interested in hiring you. So, dress properly, show up on time, keep your cell phone switched off during the interview, and be focused when giving the interview.
4. Losing your cool
Many aspiring candidates end up sabotaging their interviews by losing their cool under stressful situations. Since most jobs these days not only assess a candidate’s educational and technical skills but their soft skills as well, interviewers often bombard the candidates with unpleasant or difficult questions just to see how well they respond to stress and if they can stay in control. Blabbering, going silent, panicking, sweating, or simply losing your cool and acting inappropriately would all make it tough for you to salvage the situation. The best way is to anticipate and prepare for such tricky, stress-inducing questions during interview preparation in addition to practicing mindful breathing and self pep-talk to think clearly, stay centered and in control even when faced with tricky situations in the interview. You should also practice being honest with your answers, especially when you don’t know something. After all accepting you don’t know it gracefully is much better and much less stressful than telling you know it and then botching it all up in anxiety.
5. Talking too little/too much/too fast
Your interviewers aren’t the person with whom you should discuss the cricket score, your weekend party plans, or your upcoming vacation (unless they are somehow relevant to the job). Yet, many candidates bore their interviews by talking a lot and often missing the key point that they should have covered. Again, answering in monosyllables or giving incomplete answers too aren’t going to help as that makes your assessment a tough job for the interviewers. There are some who in their nervous state start talking too fast that the interviewers fail to understand or judge your response. The ideal way is to concentrate well on understanding the questions, take a few seconds to organize your thoughts, and then say it slowly, clearly and concisely with confidence. You should focus on these aspects during interview preparation and even visualize yourself doing well in the interview to stay away from anxiety attacks and feeling stressful during the actual interview.“Moreover many of the Candidates make the mistakes that they even don’t know”
Take the time to prepare before your interview, so you don’t have to stress out about blunders after it. Let’s check out those mistakes –
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 startup casual garb to an interview at a small startup company — it’s important to look well-dressed and put together, no matter what the company.
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.
Fuzzy Resume Facts
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. If you need to, take the time to recreate your employment history, so your resume is accurate. 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.
Using Your Phone during the Interview
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. If you accidentally forget to turn it off, resist the temptation to check it if you get a message or call.
Job interviews are like battles which are won by the most systemic planner who can hold onto the nerves and execute the moves correctly. So, you should have your interview preparation plan in place much ahead of the actual date of interview to ensure you come across as a well qualified, confident and articulate candidate whom the company would be lucky to have in its ranks.