You’ve been networking and sending your resume out for weeks, and finally got a call back for an interview. Great! But don’t get too comfortable, because you may be prone to committing interview faux pas that can kill your chances at the job.
Avoid these mistakes and make a solid impression!
1. Fail to Prepare – You don’t need to know the CEO’s middle name, but you do need to know what the company you’re hoping to work for does and why it matters. Study their history if their roots are an important part of their corporate culture, or focus on a product they recently launched and why it’s compelling. You should come off as informed and already invested in the company.
2. Talking Too Much - By the time you’ve gotten to your interview, the person you’re speaking to has likely interviewed several other people already. They’re not interested in your life story – they just want to know if you can do the job and add value to the team. Keep your answers succinct and on topic
3. Communicating Poorly - A handshake should be firm and brief, eye contact should be maintained, you should engage with your interviewer. These are very basic ways that you can communicate well in your interview. If you seem to be nervously looking around or incapable of having a smooth conversation, you’re hurting your chances.
4. Using Stock Answers - Hiring managers have heard every stock answer hundreds of times already. If they ask you who you look up to and you answer “Bill Gates” or “my dad,” your answer will blend into everyone else who said similar things. If you say that your greatest strength is that you’re a people person, you will be indistinguishable from every other “people person” they’ve met. Consider the questions and give real answers that reinforce your experience and expertise.
5. Not Being Specific – Describe why you’ve been successful by illustrating concrete examples of how you’ve conceptualized, prepared, and sold through important deals in your current and past jobs. Don’t talk in generalities. Talk about the who, what, where, etc… Hiring managers need something tangible to hold onto that demonstrates you’re the real deal.
6. Not Following Up - Thank you notes are not just a quaint, old-fashioned tradition. They’re an important way to remind your interviewer who you are and why you’re great. It only takes a couple of minutes to write a note thanking them for their time, mentioning something from the interview to remind them who you are, and reiterating your sincere interest in the position. NOTE: Proofread your note 3x before sending!
Blunders like these are all too common and happen all too often. Thankfully, they’re avoidable with some thought and preparation. What interview do’s and don’ts do you take into consideration before an important interview?