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Common Interview Mistakes

Some Common Mistakes Made When Interviewing …

Interviewing can be an extremely stressful experience for some (if not all). Preparing in advance for your interview is the surest safeguard to making certain that your interview goes off without a hitch. Check out some of the common pitfalls that happen during and after an interview – be sure not to make these mistakes yourself!

Common Interview Mistakes:

1. Being Late! You should be early (or on time). Do not ever be late for an interview. It is common practice to arrive about 10-15 minutes early for a job interview. If you are late, the interviewer may not mention it, but they will definitely make note of it.

2. Not Respecting the Gatekeeper. You should always be on your best behavior with anyone you encounter during your visit to the company. Be assured the Receptionist or “Gatekeeper” will mention anything out of the ordinary to your interviewer, including questions you may ask them.

3. Not Dressing for the Job You Want. You should dress for success. Professional attire (for men or women) is standard practice for an interview. For men, business suits in navy, black, or gray are always a good choice, with a conservative shirt and tie combo (nothing too loud or too bright). For women, it is always good to dress business professional. If you do not own a suit, you can dress in a conservative dress (long enough to be comfortable when you are sitting) or dress pants with a nice blouse. For all, wear minimal jewelry and take it easy on the cologne/perfume.

4. Not Coming Prepared. You should always research the company in advance. Prepare some questions you would like to ask about the work itself, company, culture, team, or the environment. Bring a notepad with you so you can write down important topics you learn in the interview, and always bring 3 copies of your resume in case you are interviewed by multiple people. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to fill out a job application – even if you have brought several copies of your resume.

5. Distracting the Interviewer. You should avoid distractions when interviewing, silence your cell phone, do not chew gum, and do not bring anything unnecessary with you to an interview….like a cup of coffee or soft drink.

6. Getting Distracted Yourself. Stay Focused! Don’t zone out or become distracted during an interview, you need to be on your game and not have to ask an interviewer to repeat a question. On that same topic, don’t ramble on excessively when you are asked a question – be concise so your interviewer understands the point you are trying to get across.

7. Being Negative. Stay Positive. Even if you and your last company had a bad “break-up” you should not air any dirty laundry in an interview…stay upbeat about any challenges or growing experiences you may have faced in your last position and what you have learned from them.

8. Oversharing Your Personal Life. While it is ok, and often welcome, to let someone know a little about yourself outside of the workplace realm, try to avoid divulging too much information about your kids, significant other, favorite activities, religion, politics, etc.

9. Not Following Up After. You should always send a thank you letter to your interviewers – whether you go the traditional route of a handwritten thank you (a great practice!) or if you send a follow up email…you should always acknowledge and thank your interviewers for their time.

10. Not Expressing Your Interest in the Position: You should Close Strong. Be sure to let your interviewers know that you are extremely interested in the position you interviewed for (if you are). Be sure to also find out when they expect to make a decision on the position, or the next steps in the hiring process, so you have an expected timeline.

It is very easy to fall into these traps when you are newly interviewing and your nerves get the best of you – but planning in advance and coming prepared to discuss the position will help you to avoid many of the common mistakes that interviewers see all too often.

Check out my articles on Following up After the Interview and How to Write a Great Cover Letter too


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