The job interview is arguably the most important step in your job search. Once you’ve gotten past applicant tracking system, it’s your time to truly shine. It’s your opportunity to say, “I am the best candidate for this job and here’s why.”
Unfortunately, the job interview is also a step where many candidates fall apart. When you enter a situation with a ton of nerves, it’s a challenge to push past them and make sure all the little details go according to plan. Plenty of candidates make costly mistakes during their job interviews and forfeit jobs for which they’re perfectly qualified
Earlier in the year,Glassdoor showcased the Top 25 Most Difficult Companies To Interview and CareerBuilder determined the most common mistakes candidates make during interviews. Here are the top six mistakes and how you can avoid making them during your next job interview:
1. Appearing Disinterested
The majority of hiring managers agree that a candidate’s apparent lack of interest in the job is the most common error they see in interviews. There’s a very easy fix to this. To prove to your interviewer you truly want the job, you need to act like it. Do research ahead of time on the company and the role. Prepare to ask lots of questions and share your ideas to show you mean business. When it comes time for the interview, show your excitement throughout the entire conversation. Give it your all.
2. Answering a Call or Texting
While this should be an obvious no-no, apparently lots of candidates are still using cellphones during interviews. It’s extremely rude to divert your attention from the interview, plus it’s a major turn-off (see previous point). Avoid the temptation of texting by turning your phone off when you enter the room. Leave it in the car if you have to. Just don’t touch it during the interview.
3. Dressing Inappropriately
For someone who’s never been a professional setting before, it’s understandable to be unsure of what to wear. What exactly does “professional attire” mean? When in doubt, it’s best to dress more conservatively. Wear a business suit or dress. Don’t show too much skin. Don’t wear anything too flashy. If you aren’t sure about something you’re wearing, it’s probably not your best option.
4. Talking Negatively About a Current or Previous Employer
When you speak about past jobs or internships, it’s essential to touch only on the positive experiences you had. Tell the interviewer what you accomplished there and how you can use what you learned to benefit this company. Stick to stories that highlight your strengths, not your past employer’s weaknesses. Talking negatively about your previous boss sends up a red flag, so just don’t do it.
5. Body Language
Body language is the most important part of in-person communication. How you present yourself says more about you than the words coming out of your mouth. That’s why your eye contact, smile, posture, and handshake all need to be perfect in every job interview. Sit up straight, give a strong handshake, and look your interviewer in the eyes. Practice your body language ahead of time by asking someone to give you honest feedback. It’s easy to miss something when you don’t even realize you’re doing it wrong.
6. Being Vague
You need to prove to your interviewer that you are the most qualified candidate for the job. Being vague in your answers will guarantee you’ll fail. Provide specific examples of your accomplishments and how they will benefit this new company. Come up with a list of stories ahead of time for the most common interview questions, or even the most outrageous interview questions. Preparation is key for nailing any question the interviewer throws at you.
These are the biggest mistakes for standard interviews. Other issues arise when candidates enter the territory of phone andvideo interviews. Be sure to cover all of your bases so you know exactly how to succeed in your next job interview. Avoid these mistakes and you’re already way ahead of your competition.
What are some mistakes you made during your last job interview?
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.