Interviews can be the most nerve-wracking experience in the job search. You try for months and months, send out dozens upon dozens of resumes, and you finally get a call for an interview. You think it went great but you never hear from them again. Failing an interview is embarrassing and detrimental to your career, especially in this tough economy when every opportunity counts. So for your next interview, look through this list to make sure you avoid these common interview mistakes!
7. Talking Badly About Past/Current Employers
Did you just come from the boss from hell? Leave it out of the interview. Speaking negatively about a previous (or even current) employer doesn’t work the way you think it would. It doesn’t make you look ready to jump on board immediately. Rather, it makes you look like a defector, a person ready to say negative things about your superiors to get ahead. Yes, they may have been the worst excuse for an executive, but don’t say that. Showing loyalty even when it’s not necessarily earned will go a long way.
6. Not Knowing Your Resume
You may have written it years ago, only looking at it only to tweak or add new projects as your job progresses. But when was the last time you really read your resume? You got the interview so something on it must be working for you! Read it out loud, what jumps out at you? What does your interviewer see in you before they meet you? Play up those strengths and make sure they shine when the time comes.
5. Appearing Disinterested
This may seem obvious, but sometimes interviewers get a bit excited and talk on and on (it’s happened to me before). This is even more common when there are a panel of interviewers who start talking to one another. Do not zone out and whatever you do, do not look away from the person talking. Smiling goes a long way, but if they are talking about corruption or previous issues with the last worker, don’t smile aimlessly. Nod, be attentive, and genuinely listen.
4. Not Asking the Right Questions
That horrible moment in an interview when the end is near and they ask, “So, do you have any questions for us?” Your reaction will be to say no but that is where you are wrong. Many employers take this as an opportunity to see how knowledgeable the applicant is and to see how prepared they are. Make sure you are not randomly asking questions either. Don’t ask, for instance, details about perks or pay which may seem rude. Do ask about job expectations that will make you seem engaged.
3. Being Arrogant Instead of Confident
This is a mistake that is easier to make than you’d think. You want to be confident in your interview, but be careful you don’t get boastful. Talk about your talents but try not to embellish too much; this interviewer has probably heard it all before. There is a difference between talking about yourself and droning on and on as well. The interviewer does not need to know that you windsurf and have taught yourself to juggle in your spare time. Stick to your resume and the job at hand.
2. Not Doing Your Research
This is a big complaint from companies. When the interviewer starts talking about corporate policy and expectations, you don’t want to look completely lost. Take to Google and check out big companies interviewing styles; many people post experiences online. The website Glassdoor has an awesome feature that allows you to research larger businesses to see what their interview process is like. Peruse it before heading in on the big day. Also check out the company’s website to read their mission statement and find out exactly what they’re all about.
1. Dressing Inappropriately
This more than any of them seems like a no-brainer. However, this tip is listed on almost every “interview tip” page I’ve come across. But, you may ask yourself, what is appropriate for an interview? What if it’s a casual job like a Starbucks barista or a graphic designer when you’re going to be working mostly from home? Doesn’t matter! Always, and I repeat always, dress up. When in doubt, overdress. Short of wearing a full-no tux to an interview (looking at you, Step Brothers) you’ll probably be fine. Wear a sweater, cover up those tattoos, just for now, and have some tasteful makeup on. Check out this infograph to help in dressing the part. Basically present your best self and you’ll be great!