Five common job interview mistakes
A successful job interview means selling yourself just the right amount…
But whilst it might seem simple to focus on your strengths, or get potential interview answers nailed, it’s also important to know what could be considered a mistake by your potential employer – because it could be costing you the job.
To make sure you’re not accidentally putting your interviewer off, here are five job interview mistakes, and how you can avoid them:
You don’t allow room for improvement
No matter how experienced you are, or what role you’re interviewing for, you should never imply that you’ve reached the peak of your knowledge.
Employers are looking for someone who’s willing to adapt and grow in line with their organisation, and a candidate who can’t move on from their current achievements and past work experience is unlikely to give that impression.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be proud of your career – as long as you’re also clear about where it’s heading. Link your relevant knowledge back to the role, and explain how your expertise could help their business thrive and grow – and you’ll be on the right track
Because, let’s face it, no-one likes a know-it-all…
You say yes to everything
‘The more willing I am, the more employable I’ll be, right…?’
Not necessarily. And unless you’re interviewing for an entry-level position or an internship, saying that you’ll do absolutely anything for the sake of any job offer (especially if it’s something that sits outside of your skillset) is unlikely to impress.
In fact, it could even demonstrate that you haven’t read the job description correctly, make you seem uninterested in the employer and the position or, worse, just come across a little desperate.
So, be honest about your actual skills and expertise, and relate them back to the role. And, if you’re inexperienced in certain tasks, focus on showing a genuine interest in learning more about them.
After all, saying yes is only impressive if you can actually follow through…
The worst thing you can do at an interview is forget to be human.
And although preparation is absolutely vital to your success, that doesn’t mean you have to let it hide who you are as a person.
So rehearsing your answers word-for-word, memorising a range of facts about the company, and/ or reeling off a scripted response for every question they throw at you, is not an ideal approach.
The interviewer wants to see your personality as well as your ability to answer a question – and most importantly, they want to be able to have a two-way conversation with you.
This means less of the rehearsed question and answer scenarios, and more flowing conversation. That way, everyone has an input, and everyone has an opportunity to learn.
You share the wrong things
Sharing your skills and experience, great. Providing anecdotes to back up those skills, even better. Talking about the recent argument you had with your S.O about them forgetting to hoover on Thursday – not OK.
No matter what it is, bringing up personal topics during an interview will do anything but improve your chances. In other words, there’s a time and a place for everything – and in the case of anything but your professional life, it’s not at an interview.
If your prospective employer gets the impression that you won’t be able to keep your personal life on the down-low without letting it affect your work (and your colleague’s work), you may be getting a metaphorical red cross next to your application.
So no matter how well you think you’re getting along with your interviewer – keep your conversation professional.
You say you’re a perfectionist
When it comes to answering a question about your work-related weaknesses in an interview (see: most terrifying interview question ever) – your answer means everything.
No matter what type of role you’re interviewing for, this question is likely to come up, so being prepared to give a good answer is vital. Instead of pretending you don’t have any (no, you’re not a perfectionist), consider one of your weaknesses, and explain how you’re addressing it.
In other words, it was a weakness – but it’s in the process of becoming a strength.
Not only do you come across proactive, you’ll also draw the interviewer’s attention to something other than the negatives.
It’s a win-win.
Honourable mentions: you rely too much on buzzwords, you come on too strong, you make it all about you, you badmouth your boss, your career goals don’t match up, you get ahead of yourself.
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