You should know about interview mistakes

Bad interviews are a sit-com staple like the time on Friends when Rachel literally kissed the interviewer at Ralph Lauren. Rachel managed to land the job regardless, but in the real world, mistakes during an interview are more likely to see you back on the job market than in a corner office. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, but there’s no reason that you can’t perfect your interview skills and avoid some of the most common (and problematic) mistakes made by job-seekers. Let’s count down the six biggest offenders and find out how to make your interview go off without a hitch…or a kiss.

1. Bragging

If recent political events are any indication, egotistic displays of self-promotion may seem like a good idea. And yes, it’s a good idea to impress a potential employer with your skills and accomplishments. But there’s a big difference between giving relevant information about your abilities and self-aggrandizement. A good rule of thumb: answer honestly when asked about achievements but remain modest. You can also focus on areas in which you excel that also demonstrate your ability to work with or support others.

2. Answering but not asking

Think of the interview as more of a conversation than a Q&A session. Your future employer isn’t just interested in how you respond to questions – they want to see that you can interact with the information and think critically about both your answers and their questions. Most experts recommend coming prepared with questions about the position, the company, and other relevant issues, but don’t be afraid to ask a question if the interviewer presents new information that wasn’t available earlier. Actively engage with the interviewer, demonstrate your knowledge and interest, and show that you are willing to get the answers you need.

3. Not knowing the company

Asking questions is a good way to show that you’ve prepared for the interview. In fact, before arriving at the interview make sure to do thorough research on the company and its role in the relevant sector. A quick Google search is a good starting point – look for recent articles about the company, find out information about the company’s goals and potential, and if possible do some research on the person, or people, who will be conducting the interview. Make sure that you know as much as possible about the position – and if the role is new to you, or outside of your usual field of expertise, be prepared to give a clear explanation of how your current or past experiences make you a good choice.

4. Not paying attention

Interviews aren’t just about questions and answers, and as we’ve already established, you should approach the process like a conversation, or more accurately, a professional discussion. Think of the interview as a meeting, listen carefully to what the interviewer says, asks, and implies, and find ways to address their needs. Be an active listener, and use the tone of the interview to your advantage so that you can present information about yourself or your skills that will help the interviewer understand how you will contribute to the company.