Interview advice-10 biggest interview mistakes

A friend of mine once told me a story of a job candidate who felt a little too comfortable in the interview. "Imagine, she got up, went to the staff kitchen and helped herself to some cream for her coffee." Needless to say, the woman didn't get the job. Much has been written about how to be successful in an interview from how to prepare to how to answer questions. Here are some things you shouldn't do in an interview.

1. Don't bring any coffee or food to the interview. Trust me, the coffee wiill spill. The garlic in the pastrami will start to smell. If you bring anything, it should be extra copies of your resume and cover letter.

2. Avoid too much chit chat with interviewer to get on his or her good side. Some small talk or ice breaking comments at the beginning are OK. This is a business meeting, not a social meeting. Maintain your focus on discussing qualifications and interest in the job.

3. Don't control the conversation. Let the interviewer ask the questions. Your job is to answer them. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask some appropriate questions towards the end of the interview. Asking well-thought out questions shows interest and preparation, but asking too many questions could suggest poor listening skills or non-co-operation. Just remember, the goal of the conversation is to determine if you are a good fit for the job, not if you know how to dominate a conversation.

4. Try not to over-answer a question. Watch for cues from the interviewer that signal that it’s time to stop talking. If he/she starts looking away or shifting position then you've probably said enough. Believe it or not, interviewers hate it when you talk to much. Some even think it’s the worst mistake you can make. And many of us make this mistake to compensate for nervousness. The interview is meant to be a two-way conversation.Consider practicing through video-taped mock interviews with friends, family, trusted colleagues, or even a community employment center. Practice makes perfect, and will help you with nervousness.

5. Try not to mumble. It is important that you are understandable to the interviewer. Thus, it is important to speak up and speak clearly when you are at a job interview. Certainly you will need the interviewer to understand that you are qualified for the job. But he/she can’t even understand you, how can anyone work with you? Again, try doing some mock interviews to overcome this problem.


6. Avoid being negative: Your previous employer may have been a jerk or a tyrant. Drawing attention to this portrays you as being critical and gossipy. Try to re-frame your past experiences to convey what you learned.

7. Avoid arguing with the interviewer:  unless, of course, you don’t want the job. Be positive and try to not to cross the line between confidence and arrogance.


Top interview mistakes -mock interview


8. Not knowing anything about the company is also another faux pas: Doing your homework means you can have a well-informed discussion about the company and about whether or not you are a good fit for the corporate culture and the position.

9. Don't come late to the interview: Did your car break down, was traffic bad, did your dog get sick? These are not really good excuses. If you come late to the interview, chances are you’ll come late to work. Try to pre-plan your route to this interview site, and give yourself extra time to get there on the day of the interview.Aim to arrive about 10 minutes before the start of the interview.

10. Don't focus on money too soon. Who do you care about more: You or the employer? In the interview, it's best to communicate how valuable you might be to the organization before thinking about money. If the employer is serious about hiring you money discussion will be a next step. Otherwise, you will appear to be more self-absorbed and less interested in the company.


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Comments 2 comments

Rhonda_M profile image

Rhonda_M 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

The coffee story is true. Every now and then I see an article with these kinds of stories. In one case, someone had to stop the interview and call their therapist!


Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 6 years ago from Around the USA

Great suggestions. I can't believe the story in the beginning about the woman and the coffee. Wow.

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