A recent article on Lifehacker by Carrie Sloan listed what she considered to be the biggest mistakes people make during interviews. The list includes:
You don’t know when to stop talking
We’ve all seen people who talk themselves out of a job because they miss the clues and cues of when to stop and listen, rather than speaking on and on…..A variation of this is the person who starts to answer the question before the interviewer has finished the sentence.
Making negative comments about prior employers
Everyone is told never to do this however it consistently rates highly on ‘interview mistake’ lists.
You don’t acknowledge your mistakes
Carrie says ‘be on time’ and if there’s a problem, phone ahead, then if you’re late, apologise when you arrive. I agree 100% with her assessment that being late to an interview won’t necessarily ruin your chance, however I’ve seen it ruin a person’s chance when they’re late and they simply proceed as if nothing has happened.
You try too hard
While it is hard to relax when a career move is on the line, you do need to avoid being too highly wound up, so as to put your best foot forward. The aim is to be authentic rather than over-rehearsed.
You curb your enthusiasm
Time and time again we see people eliminated from a recruitment process because the client isn’t convinced they’re enthusiastic about the role. This goes to your body language during interview; the research you’ve done; and the quality of the questions you ask.
You forget your manners
Seemingly simple things such as the handshake, eye contact and a follow-up thank-you note or email count enormously.
You torpedo the salary negotiation
There are two common salary-negotiation mistakes: (a) mentioning money too early; and (b) forgetting to negotiate at all – people (particularly women) negotiate against themselves.
I’d add one other to this list:
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.