No matter how much is written on this subject, people make the same interview mistakes over and over. Go through this list of common mistakes and see how many of these traps you fall into.
Do you talk too much….and too quickly?
We’ve all seen people who talk themselves out of a job because they miss the clues and cues of when to stop talking. This is an easy mistake to make as inevitably you’ll be trying to squeeze all your experiences into an interview. Sometimes the interview responses can become almost frantic as the person speaks too quickly in the attempt to cram it all in. PLEASE remember the maxim that ‘less is more’.
Do you speak negatively about prior employers?
Everyone is aware of avoiding this mistake, however it consistently rates high on any ‘interview mistake’ list. You don’t make such comments acceptable by starting “within these four walls….” or “in total confidence….”
Do you display your enthusiasm for the role?
Employers want to see that you are enthused about the potential of joining them. The best indicator of this for most employers is a combination of: the research you’ve done on them and the role; and your body language during the interview. Time and time again we see people eliminated from a recruitment process because the client isn’t convinced the person is enthusiastic about the role and their organisation. With so much information available on the net, it is surprising how little research many people do.
Do you engage the interviewers?
I cannot stress how poorly a person comes across when they have limited eye contact with the members of an interview panel. Seemingly simple things such as the handshake, eye contact and a follow-up thank-you note or email count enormously. I’ve also seen people who bring pages of notes to an interview to use as reminders for questions they expect will be asked. It is difficult to engage with the panel when the person is spending time referring back through their notes.
Don’t be that person who starts to answer the question before the interviewer has finished the sentence.
Are you too modest? Or too boastful?
Getting the balance right between being (a) overly modest/a team player; while (b) broadcasting your achievements. Women in particular can do themselves a disservice by downplaying their role in team successes.
Are you too big picture? Or too detailed?
Again, a balance is required. A panel, ideally, will look for a person who can speak to the ‘big picture’ and the ‘why’; then follow up with the ‘how to’ and the practical application. I’ve been on many panels where the person has given the impression they only operate in one of these two dimensions.
How many of these six categories do you fall into? Every interview you do should be treated as a learning experience. Take the time soon after an interview to reflect on your answers.