Congratulations! If you’ve already made it this far, there’s a good chance the company you applied to is very interested in you. Your resume caught their eye; you aced the phone interview, now it’s time to “wow” them with your in-person interview skills.
Interviews are an exciting step in the process, and arguably the most difficult one as well.
Interviews take practice. There are a set of common interview questions you’ll likely be asked, and some basic guidelines on what to say. You’re judged not only on your merit, but also on your preparedness, demeanor, and ability to think on your feet as well.
The very thought alone can send shivers down one’s spine, but with a little preparation, you’ll be walking into the interview room with poise and confidence, knowing you’ve got this in the bag.
You can’t change your past experience, but you can influence the interviewer’s perception of you with well-rounded interview questions and answers.
The worst thing you can do at this step is to make one of these common interview mistakes. Your potential employer has seen them time and time again. They’re hoping it doesn’t happen to you, but without the proper preparation, they are almost inevitable.
Lucky for you, you’ve practiced your lines, know the interview questions they are going to ask, and you know to avoid the following – it looks like your in the clear.
The 5 most common job interview mistakes people make – and how you can avoid them.
You don’t research the company beforehand
If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’ve done a little research about your potential new employer. Now, it’s time to buckle down and study them like you’re about to take a college exam – and the topic is that business.
Your employer is bound to ask you what you know about the company, and having a less common answer, like a charity they commonly support, for example, is an easy way to wow your interviewer. If this is a company you can see yourself working with, you’re going to want to know as much about the ins and outs as possible.
Show the interviewer you understand your potential new position by researching the company beforehand. Know the history and the names of upper management. If they have an uncommon workplace practice like yoga Wednesdays, throw in your love of yoga (don’t lie, you don’t want to get caught in a question you can’t answer, but maybe do a little research on yoga if you’re really interested in it).
Glassdoor.com recommends learning as much as you can about the employer through websites, blogs, and pamphlets they keep in their office that explain their business to consumers.
Not preparing for common interview questions
Every employer is different, but there are a few common interview questions that are sure to come up in one way or another.
Have a solid answer to “tell me about yourself.”
Don’t skip practicing this question because you believe it is easy, try and come up with an interesting fact about you in addition to your background. You’re likely to be asked,
“Why are you a good fit for this job?” The interviewer knows you have the skills to match, show him or her how you stand out from the other people being interviewed. What are your strengths, weaknesses, how do you solve a common problem this position faces?
How do you handle workplace drama? Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? These are all questions that get asked time and time again.
Bad-mouthing your previous employer
This is a no-no and you never want to commit this common job interview mistakes. Nothing raises a red flag quite like bad mouthing your previous employers. There is a fine line between explaining a situation and hating on all your previous jobs.
Don’t be the guy or gal who can’t seem to leave on a happy note.
No one wants to hire someone who is constantly burning bridges. It’s risky for an employer to hire someone who talks trash about their past employer because there is a good chance you’ll do it to them when you leave as well.
Even if your last job was awful, the boss didn’t pay you, whatever the case may be, try to calmly explain the situation, and move on.
Try and end it on a good note as well. Something like, “While my last job taught me that I don’t enjoy being micromanaged, it also showed me that I really enjoy working independently and for that, I’m thankful” is much better than “My last boss was a jerk! He was always breathing down my back!”
Bad body language
Everyone is nervous about an interview. You may not think that the confident guy in the lobby waiting for his interview time had anything to worry about, but he’s sweating on the inside just as much as you. The difference? Confident body language. From the second you step outside your car, pretend that someone can see you.
Walk with your shoulders back and chin high. Know that you are prepared, you’ve got this. The term “fake it ‘til you make it” comes into play. You’re not just interviewing with one person, the impression you make on the receptionist and other employees count as well. Give a firm handshake and look everyone in the eye. Sit up tall, uncross your arms and legs, and remember to breathe.
Not having any questions prepared
Your interviewer will always ask you if you have any other questions before you leave. Make sure you have some prepared. Even if he or she already went over your questions, think on your feet and come up with another one.
Some questions you can ask are, “What can I do before my first day to be as prepared as possible? What are the most common job interview mistakes in this position, and what can I do to avoid them? What qualities does your company value in a leader?”
These types of confident questions will wow your potential employer; it shows that you’re interested in the future at this company.