Avoiding the Most Common Interview Mistakes

John Krautzel
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You've scoured the job boards, sent out stacks of resumes and waited with bated breath for the phone to ring. Then it happens: You get the call for that much-anticipated job interview. Now the pressure's on. It only takes one misstep in the interview to turn off the hiring manager and land on the reject list. Make sure you don't make any of these common mistakes at your next job interview.

1. Going in Unprepared

Do plenty of research on the hiring organization before you go on your job interview. Browse the company website, check out its social media page and search for related news articles. Absorb everything you can about the employees, the company culture and any challenges facing the organization or industry.

2. Arriving Late

Make sure you know where you're going for the interview, and give yourself plenty of time to park, enter and check in with a receptionist. Try to be 10 or 15 minutes early.

3. Putting Yourself Down

Avoid talking negatively about yourself, even if you lack certain skills that the position requires. Instead, remain positive and play up the skill set you do possess.

4. Exhibiting Bad Body Language

Pay attention to your body language throughout the job interview. Sit up straight, and avoid fidgeting with papers, a pencil, your hair or anything else that may distract you.

5. Acting Nervous

It's understandable and acceptable to feel nervous at a job interview, but practicing the answers to common questions prior to your job interview can help you appear more confident.

6. Forgetting About Hygiene

Make sure you're freshly showered on interview day, but don't overdo it with cologne or perfume. Ensure your hair is neatly groomed and your fingernails are clean and trimmed. Make certain you have fresh breath, and avoid smoking directly before the job interview.

7. Speaking Negatively

Keep all your comments positive. If you're asked about a previous employer, avoid the temptation to say anything negative, whether it's about the pay, employees or job duties. Be polite and courteous with everyone you encounter, from the receptionist to the hiring manager.

8. Asking Too Few Questions

Never pass up the opportunity to ask questions during a job interview. Jot down some thoughtful questions ahead of time. Ask about the company culture, inquire about particular job duties or find out about performance evaluations. Use this time to show your enthusiasm for the position and the organization.

If you make a mistake in a job interview, don't panic. Do your best to correct the blunder. If it costs you the job, chalk it up as a valuable lesson, and keep it in mind for next time. Reviewing common mistakes before your next job interview can help you focus on how to present yourself properly and professionally.


Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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