5 of the Most Common Interview Mistakes

Based on my personal experience in the military and civilian life there are certain things that you want to avoid doing in a job interview. Above all, here are 5 mistakes that you do not want to make while in an interview.

Don’t dress for an interview to suit your working environment. I have read many articles on-line and in magazines that give interview tips that may get you into trouble. The most common tip that you may hear is to dress for an interview to where it suits your working environment. DO NOT DO THIS! It may not always be your best option to go to an interview in a full suit. Shirt, tie, matching shoes and belt should be the minimum. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a job at McDonald’s or at the local movie theater. Always “Dress to Impress.” It is very likely that dozens of people are applying for the same job so it is in your best interest to make a good impression so that you stand out from others.

Never be dull. If you just sit there and speak when you’re spoken to (yes sir/ma’am, no sir/ma’am) you are going to bore your interviewer to death. Ask questions and give detailed answers. Describe to your interviewer why you are right for the job instead of a yes sir/ma’am when they ask you a question. If you come off as boring to your interviewer they may get the impression that you lack social skills. Give the interviewer a good sense of who you are and why you would be a good hire.

Never come off as cocky. Most interviewers do not like people who come off as cocky. Being cocky and being confident are two completely different things. Do not tell your interviewer how awesome you are and that you are a better choice than all of the other applicants. That is COCKY! Tell your interviewer what you have accomplished in the past and how your skills can be used to better serve the company. That is confidence. If you come into an interview with a cocky attitude you may still have a chance but you better be able to back up what you say.

Don’t get off subject. If your interviewer asks you about your first job, tell him/her about it. Do not tell him/her about your best friend that you worked with and what you used to do on the weekend. Stay on topic and give detailed answers. You may have read on-line or in magazines to strike up a conversation with your interviewer and find a common interest. The interviewer may consider that getting off subject and maybe even brown nosing. From time to time an interviewer may strike up a conversation with you to get an idea of what kind of worker you will be. If this happens give polite and brief answers to avoid getting too far off subject.

Never end your interview with a loose handshake. Always end your interview with a firm handshake. Whether you are a male or female always end your interview with a firm handshake. There is no better way to end an interview with a firm handshake. It doesn’t matter if your interviewer is a male or female either. If you are a male and give a loose handshake because your interviewer is female you can expect to get your knuckles rolled and it might hurt a bit. If you are a female and give a firm handshake to a male interviewer you will not only surprise him. You will impress him.