Job interviews are the one chance a hiring manager has to see if you’re qualified to work for their company. They’re looking for the best of the best, and you need to do your best to show them that you are without flaws, and that investing in you is worth their time and money.
You can’t do that if you are constantly making some of the most common job interview mistakes that may easily get you a red ex with the hiring manager. Here are five mistakes to avoid at your next job interview.
Mistake 1: So What is It You Guys Do Here?
Back in the good old days, applicants tended to apply for jobs at companies they liked and respected. Times have changed, and with a tough economy, most people are applying to jobs with the “anything I can get” mentality, trolling Craigslist and other sites hoping to find a job – any job – where they can send in their resume.
I’ve been guilty of this too. I sent in a resume to a company I knew nothing about. During the job interview I was asked “so what do you know about our company?” My answer was “nothing, why don’t you tell me what you do?” I didn’t get the job.
Company research plays an important role in the job interview. It’s especially important if you didn’t know much about the company when you send in your application. Make sure you know the company that’s hiring you if you plan to get the job.
Mistake 2: Rambling On and On and What Were We Talking About Again?
On occasion you’ll likely be asked behavioral interview questions that ask you to tell a story. These questions will start with something like “Describe a time when…” or “Tell me about a decision you made…” and will ask you to elaborate on your experiences to give the hiring manager a chance to get to know you further.
Make sure you have good answers planned for these types of questions. Without planned responses, you’re likely to end up rambling and rambling until in the end you completely forget your point and realize that you spent the last 15 minutes talking about your cat.
Mistake 3: All Experiences Are Not Created Equal
One of the most common mistakes with less-than-stellar applicants is the widely held belief that the interviewer cares about everything you have to say. They don’t. Not everything is created equal, and it’s important that you give priority only to the facts about yourself that are most relevant for the job you’re interviewing for.
To help put this in perspective, imagine you are applying to be the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, and a hiring manager asks you if you have any relevant management experience. If your answer is “yes, I was assistant manager at my local McDonalds” you are not going to get the job, because no hiring manager cares that you worked for McDonalds. It’s not relevant to the current job, so it’s not worth bringing up.
Mistake 4: Clichés Are Not Hard Workers
Another incredibly common mistake is the use of clichés at your job interview. Clichés are unbelievably common, because many applicants hold the misguided belief that a good interview is a defensive interview. In other words, a good interview is one you don’t screw up.
That’s not the case at all. Your goal is to stand out. You need to be different than everyone else. You know what’s not different? Someone that describes themselves as a “hard worker.” Everyone and their mother can call themselves a hard worker. It’s a meaningless statement. The same is true of someone that is a “good communicator” and someone that describes their greatest weakness as “I work too hard.”
These are bad answers, because these are answers that literally every candidate can and will claim. You want to stand out at your job interview. Make sure all of your answers are unique to you, and not recycled phrases you found online.
Mistake 5: Belching the Obvious
There’s no doubt that there are some interview mistakes that are so terrible they aren’t even worth mentioning in a things to avoid list. But here they are anyway. If you insult people, act negative, shake rapidly, cry, make rude hand gestures, or flirt with the hiring manager, you’re not going to get the job. Your body language will also need to be at its best and it’s important that you give clear, confident answers that show you’re ready to take on the job. Avoiding a few little mistakes can make a big difference if you’re hoping to get hired in today’s competitive economy.
Practice and Practice More
Job interviews are known to be difficult. Yet to be effective, you need to do more than simply avoid the easy mistakes – you need to stand out, and show that you’re better than other candidates. The only way to do that is to practice, because the more you practice, the readier you’ll be for what the hiring manager will throw at you.