How to survive in the jungle of Job Interviews? You should not aim at stunning anybody, the most important thing is to be very (very!) careful and avoid the worst errors. Unfortunately, these errors are also the most common to make, the kind of things that succeed in annoying even the most patient recruiters.
Too often candidates do not study enough for the Interview (for example, have you read our guide on how to rock in an interview?) and they stand on a path towards failure. This is most common in young guys with no experience, who do not know how to handle these situations. Moreover, stress can lead to confusion and mess up the whole Interview. You need to have clear guidelines in mind, sort of a plan, in order to get the job.
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Know your enemy: the most common Job Interview mistakes
This article will help you not seem shy or confused to your potential employer. Let’s take a look at the 10 most common Job Interview mistakes (and how to avoid them):
- Arriving late
- Arriving too early
- Not being properly dressed
- Knowing nothing about the company
- Lying about your skills
- Not making any questions
- Checking your smartphone
- Being unable to talk about you
1. Arriving late
This is the worst start. You will make a terrible first impression, because it will look like you’re not interested in the job or that you’re not able to schedule your time properly. It is better to leave your house well in advance to avoid problems with traffic or last-minute threads.
However, setbacks happen and they are of course unforeseen. If, despite all your efforts, you find yourself being late, call the recruiter in advance and explain the situation. This way, he will not loose too much time in waiting for you and you will make the first move (and avoid receiving his call).
2. Arriving too early
This is a dangerous situation as well. Arriving to the interview more than 15 minutes early could make the recruiter feel under pressure and you could seem a bit anxious. I suggest you drink a coffee near the company building, for example, and show up just 5-10 minutes before the appointment.
3. Not being properly dressed
First impression is crucial. Candidates are judged right in the first minute of interview and the outfit can change everything. You need to look clean and tidy. Your look should be professional, yet with a small detail that describes you, like a colored accessory or a particular tie. It’s OK to be original, but never be inappropriate.
If you are a woman, I suggest you to avoid low-cut necklines or dresses that show too much of your skin: you need to bring out your talent, not your body. Avoid excessively bright colors, go for black, blue, beige or pastel colors.
If you are a man, you will be ok wearing good pants, shirt and tie. Black and blue are always OK. Take care of your hands, since they are very exposed during interviews and need to be nice.
However, adjust your outfit according to the company you’re going to: in young environments like start-ups your outfit can usually be more casual, and a simple shirt may be enough.
4. Knowing nothing about the company
This is one of the most common job interview mistakes, but it has a direct impact on the final result. You need to do your homework and learn something about the company, your eventual boss and if possible even the recruiter. Being prepared is very important, because you will show interest towards a reality that can soon become your own.
Moreover, it’s more and more common that recruiters ask candidates what he knows about the company; if you’re not able to say anything your interview can be ruined. You just need 10 minutes on Google to solve this problem, it’s not a big deal.
It is normal to be a bit worried before and after an interview; however, it is important to learn how to control you emotions and don’t let them interfere with your final goal. Remember that an interview is not an interrogation, but something that firms use to better know a person and evaluate all the characteristics.
If this can help, you can simulate interviews in front of a mirror or with a friend, so that you can get prepared on some of the most common questions.
6. Lying about your skills
Honesty is key. During an interview you need to know how to sell yourself, but you should not talk about someone that is not you. You will make an extremely bad impression, because it will be easy to spot whether you said the truth or not. When the truth will come out, it will be irreparable.
It is better not to stun your interviewer with too many words. It is of course an interview, but you should not bore him nor be verbose. You should answer questions entirely, but trying to be concise. You can add more information, ask for clarifications, but you should definitely not talk non-stop for 10 minutes.
A simple trick to keep recruiters’ focus on you is to ask them questions as well, for example asking for feedbacks on what you’re saying.
8. Not making any questions
About the end of your job interview, you can (and should) make some questions. Usually you can ask something about the role that you will take in the company, your duties and method. I suggest you to avoid questions about the salary, you will talk about it when time will come.
By asking questions you will show interest and you will seem accurate and precise. Having no questions can be read as a signal of indifference.
9. Checking your smartphone
Did you came for being on Facebook or for making a good impression? When a candidate looks at his phone, or if he answers to calls during the interview, there is no way out. It will definitely seem that you value more your personal business than the interview. You have to be 100% focused on the person in front of you.
I know that it’s not common anymore, but try powering off your phone before entering in the building. In this way you will not even be worried that it suddenly rings during your meeting.
10. Being unable to talk about you
Very often, recruiters ask candidates to talk about themselves, in order to examine communication and summary skills. This is very useful also to know better the candidate and evaluate his eventual hiring. I mean, he can soon become a colleague!
Therefore it is very important that you prepare a short description about who you are and what did you do in the past, including a couple of sentences about your personality and interests. It should be maximum one minute long, otherwise you will loose recruiter’s attention.
There is not a universal secret for being successful at Job Interviews, but a little bit of practice and attention can help a lot. If you follow these tips, you will already be better than most of the candidates and avoid the most common Job Interview mistakes.
Everything else is up to you, your posture, your ability to highlight your skills. Confident tone of voice and slow talking will make you look at ease and help you staying focused on your speech. Do not look down or across the room, try to keep a good eye-contact with your interviewer.
And don’t forget the handshake.. it should be strong and confident!