Every job interview requires some preparation. If you can’t convince employers you can do the job you won’t get it. You need to avoid these mistakes!
Congratulations, you are invited in for a job interview. So, what next? The steps you need to take before the interview are important because these will determine whether you get the job or not. The job interview is essentially a chance to meet the employers, and preparing yourself for this important event will help you get the most of it. If you don’t take it seriously, you are more likely to make some of the following common mistakes. Let’s have a look.
1. Going Unprepared
What’s worse than not being invited in for an interview? Well, of course, going unprepared to one. There is no excuse for not preparing enough for a job interview. Doing your research on the company and getting the names of the hiring personnel before the meeting is a must and the same goes for practicing questions. Also, don’t expect much when you go to the job interview wearing ripped trousers and a dirty t-shirt. Employers will be surprised, but not in a good way, and you won’t be making the right kind of impression.
2. Practicing Too Much
Employers don’t want to hire robots. They want to hire real people, so it’s time to stop sounding like a robot. While going unprepared to the interview can cost you the job, you may get the same result if you spend too much time practicing your answers. When that happens, your answers may come off as totally rehearsed and sound like you are reading your response from a script. To help yourself out, it might be a good idea to practice with a friend or a family member you feel comfortable with. These people can tell you if you are doing that and advise you to change your answers so that they come more natural to you.
3. Not Paying Attention to Your Body Language
Your body language speaks louder than words. If your hands are shaking then, it’s obvious to employers that you are nervous, no matter how hard you are trying to stay calm. Likewise, if you fail to retain eye contact with the interviewer, it gives the impression that you either don’t care about the job, or you have low self-esteem and prefer to look anywhere else than in the interviewer’s eyes.
To help you out, here are a couple of body language tips to remember:
- Walk through the door looking confident and calm
- Give a firm handshake
- Sit with your back straight and your chest open
- Try to get comfortable, but not too comfortable
- Retain eye contact, but avoid coming out as creepy
- Talk slowly but loud and clear
If you want to get those power poses right, check out this TED talk from Amy Cuddy who says that your body language can shape who you are and how you are being seen by others.
4. Being Negative
When you worry too much about the outcome of the interview, it’s only natural to be pessimistic about it. But, you don’t want to transmit all of this negativity and concern to the interviewers. If you are anxious about meeting employers, try to think of the interview as an informative meeting where you get the chance to meet some interesting people. More or less this is what a job interview is anyway. Seeing the interview as an experience will allow you to be more positive and relaxed. Also, make sure that you are friendly and smile throughout the interview.
5. Leading the Interview
Remember that when you are in the interview, you want the interviewer to like you. While making jokes is considered to be OK – within reason, you don’t want to risk your chances by getting too friendly and assuming that the interviewer is suddenly your new buddy. As such, avoid talking too much, put a pause once in a while and stop asking the interviewer personal questions he doesn’t want to give answers to. Every answer should be less than two minutes. Longer than that and the interviewer might find you boring.
Of course, the same goes the other way around. If the interviewer asks you questions you don’t want to answer because they are too personal, you have the right to refuse. In fact, some interview questions are just plain illegal. This means that you don’t have to feel obligated to tell the interviewer your age, marital status or religion. Also, when the interviewer asks you to ‘talk about yourself’ you don’t have to tell him the story of your life. Stop yourself from going over the line.
7. Giving Common Answers
There is nothing employers hate more than listening to candidates saying the same things over and over again. If you want to get the job, you have to stand out from the competition, and one way to do this is to give the kind of answers interviewers haven’t heard before. So, when they ask you ‘what’s your biggest weakness’ avoid saying that you too are a perfectionist. Instead, be more inventive and talk about how you work with other people and how you are trying to improve to do better.
8. Having Unrealistic Expectations
The reason why most jobseekers are still out of a job isn’t because they don’t have the right abilities or the experience. Sometimes, what they are lacking is common sense. As a 20 year-old you don’t expect to make $4,000 per month, and when you are being asked ‘what’s your salary requirements’ the salary range shouldn’t be that high. Since you might be asked this question, it’s important to be realistic about how much you could be earning. You don’t want to make it ‘all about the money’, but you also want to get paid for the amount of work you do. So, think about your education and current experience and give a realistic number.
9. Showing That You Know Everything
Nobody likes to work with a know-it-all, especially if they think highly of themselves. In your attempt to impress employers and keep your morale high, you may come off as overly confident, rude and assertive. So you might want to show the interviewer that you are a jack-of-all-trades, but that’s not going to work. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses and admitting to them isn’t a shame. Instead of telling interviewers that you can do anything they ask, stay humble and focus on what you can do.
10. Criticizing Previous Employer
No matter how bad the situation was with your previous employer, you should never badmouth them. Why? Because it simply doesn’t make you look good. It tells employers that you are negative and that you can’t get over the past. It also gives the impression to prospective employers that you will say the same things about them.
When interviewers ask you why you left your job, tell the truth but don’t say bad things about your boss, your colleagues or the situation you were in. Instead recognize and mention what you learnt from it, and how this experience has helped you become better at what you do.
Applying for jobs isn’t just for fun, and once you are on the job hunt, you have to give 100 percent. Don't you agree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below…