Common Interview Mistakes You Might Be Making

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Categories: Interview Preparation

Are you guilty of making common interview mistakes? When it comes to looking for a job, the standard rules are:

  • If you’re not getting called for interviews, it’s your resume.
  • If you’re not getting job offers, it’s how you’re interviewing.

Too many times, though, candidates confuse the two, putting too much emphasis on the resume. But if you’re getting calls for interviews, your resume is working. That’s wonderful! Now, it’s time to work on your interviewing skills.

Common Interview Mistakes

If you’re lucky, you only have to interview for roles a handful of times in your life. That means you’re likely out of practice. And that can open you up to making rookie mistakes. Here are some of the top interview mistakes candidates make when they’re interviewing:

Not Doing Research on Companies and Interviewers

interview mistakes - researchIn the digital age, there’s no excuse for not completing research on the company or interview committee before you head to your interview. You can start with the company website, but that’s not your only source. Thorough research will include:

You’ll want to be familiar with the company’s mission and vision, their products and services, what other people are saying about them, their target market, and the kinds of people they employ. If you know the names of the participants in the interview committee, find out more about them including past career histories and how long they’ve been with the company.

Not Arriving Early

Have you heard the saying, “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable”? When it comes to common interview mistakes, being on time or late is all too common.

If your interview is on the phone, be in a quiet place and ready to speak when the call comes in. For video interviews, test your equipment ahead of time and be signed in and ready to speak at least two minutes prior to the start time. And when it comes to an in-person interview, arrive at the location five to ten minutes prior to the start of your meeting.

Not Being Kind to Everyone in the Process

Your interview starts well before you arrive on site for an actual in-person meeting. Everyone you interact with, from security to people in the parking lot or restroom and the receptionist could be part of the interview process. Treat every single person you meet with respect and kindness. If your interview takes place at a public location, such as a coffee shop, restaurant, or hotel lobby, extend that kindness to the wait staff and all customer service people. You never know who’s watching.

Not Turning Off Your Cell Phone

Whether your interview takes place on video or in person, you need to confirm that your cell phone is turned off. This isn’t just one of the common interview mistakes, it’s a common life mistake! Any time you go into a meeting or presentation, you should turn off your phone. If you don’t always keep your phone on silent, set a reminder to turn it off or to vibrate right before you get into the interview.

Not Preparing Stories to Highlight Your Value

“Facts tell but stories sell” is another phrase you’ve probably heard before. Start to develop stories to highlight every bullet point in the job description. Consider stories for all the “Tell me about a time when…” questions you’ll be asked.

When you can share stories, you’ll engage your audience more and leave a lasting impression on the interview committee, while avoiding those nagging interview mistakes.

Not Having Great Answers to Common Interview Questions

In an interview, you’ll mostly be asked questions that fall into two categories:

  1. Do you have the technical skills to do the job?
  2. Will you fit with our team and company?

From the first question, “Tell me about yourself?” to the last, “Do you have any additional questions for us?” you have several opportunities to highlight your experience, accomplishments, and fit with the company’s needs. Practice your responses ahead of time, using a mix of stories and accomplishments that will put the focus on what a great investment you’ll be for this role.

Not Having Good Questions to Ask

An interview is not a one-way conversation. Employers expect you to ask questions of them in addition to the questions they’ll ask of you. During your research, prior to your interview, you should be creating strong questions to ask when you meet with the interview committee. Avoid questions that can easily be answered on the company website or social media and, instead, opt for more strategic questions about the company’s plans, culture, why the position is vacant, and what the onboarding process is like.

Not Closing Each Interview

Since a job interview is very much like a sales call, you need to close the conversation at the end of each interview. You can do this by addressing and overcoming any objections the committee has about your candidacy, offering to provide additional information they may need to make their decision, and asking them about the next steps in the process.

Avoid Making These Common Interview Mistakes

Interviews are the last step between your application and receiving a job offer. At Resume and Career Services, our Career Advancement Program positions you to excel at every stage of the interview process, from researching to closing and following up, so you can avoid these common interview mistakes.

Are you ready to get educated, empowered, and employed? Learn more about how we can help.