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10 Most Critcal Mistakes To Avoid At Job Interviews

Updated on October 24, 2010
Facing the panel
Facing the panel
Appreciate time spent
Appreciate time spent
Dress smart
Dress smart

Critical Mistakes To Avoid At Interviews

My experience over the years as Human Resources Manager gave me quite an insight into the world of job applicants. They all come in different shapes and sizes, some walk in with genuine confidence and some with the know-it-all attitude. Others come with fear not because they don't know what to say or do but for fear of unknown.

It could be scary sometimes though if you have to face a panel of interviewers. You walk in to meet some stern and unfriendly looking faces and some warm and welcoming to make you feel at ease. Mind you, some of those stern faces may not be genuine, it may just be a way to rattle would be applicant to determine his/her level of confidence.

As an applicant, when you sit at interview facing a prospective employer that you are sincerely interested in working for, there are probably more than a hundred things running through your mind at a go, which of course, can make you anxious and cause you to walk into the interview unprepared. However, if you can focus yourself on the most important facets of the employment interview, then you will be able to relax yourself and be more in control of the message that you are sending to the prospective employer.

Job interview mistakes can easily be avoided, and many of the same mistakes cause a large number of applicant to fail on a consistent basis. There are ten critical mistakes applicants make during job interviews, by avoiding these mistakes, you will be able to show prospective employers that you are the right candidate for the job.

Inadequate Preparation for The Interview: One of the most critical mistakes that you can make is to arrive unprepared for the interview.How can you prove that you are the right candidate for the job if you do not know anything about the job you are applying for or the company you are applying to?

As soon as you find out that you will be interviewing for a company, you owe it a responsibility to research them and the position you will be interviewing for. By so doing, you can demonstrate that you are the right candidate and you will have better chances of impressing whoever your interviewer is.Visit the company's website and extract useful information relating to their industry and the company's performance over time. Remember, the better prepared you are ahead of time, the greater your chances of success.

Arriving Too Early or Too Late: It is imperative that you arrive on time for interview appointment but you do not necessarily have to arrive too early thereby forcing the interviewer to change their schedule in order to accommodate you. At the same time, you cannot afford to arrive late. Remember, first impression lasts longer. Make sure you have working directions, test travel time before the actual day or get directions online to determine travel time.

Ensure you have all necessary documentation long before hand so that you are not scrambling to print resume or gather references at the last minute. Pack all your stuffs together the night before and check through before leaving for interview venue to ensure you are equipped.

Your interview is your first impression and your main intention should be to impress future employers in as many ways as you can.

Having The Wrong Attitude: There are a number of behaviors during an interview that can cause you to come across as a negative person or simply connotes you as one who does not have the positive attitude for the job. For instance, if you should make complaint regarding various jobs, positions, bosses, co workers colleagues or companies can send a rather negative message to would-be employer.

Also, if your body language is not right, you may be sending negative signal, for example

-Hunching down
-Slumping in the chair
-Avoiding eye contact with the interviewer
-Looking down constantly
-Folding your arms over your chest
-Fiddling with you hair
-Fiddling with items on the desk
-speaking inaudibly
-Use of words like 'um' or 'like' repeatedly

It is important you practice your answers to test interview questions, and your questions about the company in front of a mirror in order to improve the tone of your voice and your positive body language.

Being Unprepared for Interview Questions: There are two important elements to a job interview. The first are questions the interviewer asks of you and the second are questions you ask the interviewer in return. There are many resources for common job interview questions, and most employers within different industries ask the same questions or at least similar which can help you to prepare to a certain extent.

There are a number of basic or general questions that tend to crop up regularly at interviews such as

-What are your strengths, or what is your greatest strength?
-What are your weaknesses or what is your greatest weakness?
-Why do you want this job position or why do you think you deserve this position?
-What are some of your achievements to date or what has been your greatest achievement in your working history?
-Why should we employ you?

Prepare and practice the answers to questions like these and you will be able to avoid this critical initial mistake. Avoid going blank in the middle of an interview.

Not Asking The Right Questions: At a point during the interview, your interviewer may ask 'Do you have any question for me?' Use the company research you have conducted earlier to ask insightful questions about the company, this will help you gain information about the company and the job. It also shows you are interested in the company and that you have done your homework and arrived prepared.Questions like

-What specific tasks will be expected of me in this position?
-Is this a newly created position or am I replacing another employee?
-What is the next step after the interview?
-How will my job performance be measured?
-What competitive advantage does the company have over other similar companies?
-What does the interviewer like best about the company and how long has she been there?

Dressing Inappropriately: While most people seeking jobs know that dressing appropriately is a big part of arriving prepared for interview, most people do not actually have a good understanding of what 'dressing appropriately' actually means. As a result, many arrive dressed inappropriately, either in general or based on the dress code in question.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to research the company that you are going before hand. By so doing, you can figure out what style of dress would be ideal. Get to know the company culture. Also avoid excessive, extreme, bright or loud appearance. Resist the temptation to wear colors that are too bright, perfumes that are too strong, loud nail polish or extravagant jewelry. If you have tattoos, cover them up, if you have piercings that are inappropriate, remove them. It is important that your interviewer focuses on your skills, your accomplishments and recall reasons for why you are the best candidate rather than your appearance.

Asking about Salary or Benefits: The right time to ask about salary or benefit ideally is after you have scaled the first hurdle of selling yourself and your skill. You should refrain from bringing this topic up prematurely. Career satisfaction comes in a variety of forms, so focus on joining a collaborative team environment with plenty of opportunity for growth.

Not Arriving with The Right Documents: Make sure you bring several copies of your resume so that everyone who attends the interview can have a copy. Many employers conduct group interviews, so they may not necessarily have your documents handy. Ensure you have a portfolio if your job requires it

Having the right paperwork and documents prepared is the best way to arrive at interview, this shows you as a serious person who know how to make good impression. The more prepared you are, the more successful you will be.

Being Dishonest or Impolite: Your overall attitude has a lot to do with how your prospective employer perceives you and your candidacy for the position they are hiring for. There are a couple of things that you can do to make sure your prospective employer or interviewer sees you in the right light and does not get the wrong idea. Avoid being dishonest. You should never lie to get the position you want, by so doing, you are undermining your own abilities and strengths and you are destroying any trust or rapport that has been developed. Also avoid being impolite. You need to keep in mind that the person who is interviewing you may very well be your future boss. You should not sit down until you are asked to. If you want to take your jacket off, you should ask first. If refreshment are offered, thank your host.

Make it a point of duty to thank your interviewer for the time taken to speak with you. A large part of your interview success will hinge on your attitude, your willingness to listen, your willingness to ask and answer questions, your ability to be honest and to have positive outlook on the interview situation.

Marketing Yourself Incorrectly: You need to be able to market yourself correctly. You need to define yourself properly and map out your skills to the skills required for the job. You need to identify your major strengths and accomplishments as they relate to the position in question.

Your goal should be to become memorable in the eyes of your future employer without standing out in a negative way. If you have unusual job experiences, interesting skills, unusual hobbies or other characteristics that will help you stand out, then you should bring this up in a way that is natural

It may be surprising how easily a handful of small mistakes could affect your job interview success. If you are serious about the job that you are applying for, and you really want to stand out as a positive and memorable candidate, then, it is absolutely vital that you avoid these ten critical mistakes.

Tell me about yourself


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