Out of 250 applicants, you were chosen for an interview. You made it. You’re experiencing a sense of relief that you’re finally going for an interview and a sense of trepidation that you might make a fatal interview mistake.
Don’t worry. Most common job interview mistakes can be avoided as long as you know what they are. Here are the top three rookie mistakes made at job interviews and how to avoid them.
Leaving your cell phone on
The very last thing you want to happen is have your cell phone ring during your interview. This shows disrespect to the employer for their time and energy and will certainly earn you a spot on the “don’t bother” list. The best thing you can do is leave your phone in the car. But if you forgot or have it on your person for some other reason, turn off your phone. Most likely any call you receive can wait an hour.
Responding to questions using clichés
Employers are tired of hearing “I’m a team player,” “I have excellent attention to detail,” or “I work too much.” And what do these responses even mean? Well, there’s your answer – tell the employer how you have attention to detail by using an example. “In my last position, I was responsible for proofing the final documents before sending them to our clients. It was my job to make sure all the details were correct, the document was formatted appropriately, and there were no grammatical or spelling errors.”
Not matching your tone
This plays into being too excited or not excited enough. The first few minutes of the interview, pay attention to how you’re being asked questions – what does the manager’s tone and body language say? Is the interview formal or more relaxed? You want to mimic the tone set by the person doing the interviewing. Avoid “sir” and “ma’am.” Those terms are antiquated. If you don’t catch the person’s name the first time around, ask again.
Getting too personal
Avoid disclosing too much personal information. Sure, your future employer wants to know a little bit about you as a person – stress: a little bit! When you’re nervous you may have a propensity to carry on about personal details that are of no interest to the interviewer. Instead of talking, take a breath. This doesn’t mean you can’t share a conversation about a mutual interest. It means that you share succinctly. Let the interviewer drive the conversation and remember, less is more.
Too much or too little self-selling
You need to sell yourself on your strengths and how you can benefit the company. But not too much. This is a common rookie mistake. You’re so excited to get the interview and you really want the job, so you oversell. Or you’re really nervous and don’t want to sound like a know-it-all so you undersell. In both instances, focus on your strengths and how those will benefit the company in the role you’re applying for.
Bonus: Don’t lie
Of course, it goes without saying, if you lie you will not get the job. In fact, 51% of employers report they would automatically rule out a candidate for lying. You’re much better off telling the truth and then backing up your answer with substance. For example, let’s say you don’t have experience using CRMs and the job description requires that you do. The first thing you need to remember is that you were selected for the interview out of all the applicants despite leaving this off your resume and cover letter. So be truthful. Your response might look something like this: I don’t have specific experience using CRM software because it has not been a job requirement for me in the past. However, 30 days ago I signed up for free trials using ClickUp and Dubsado because I am always looking for ways to improve my skill set. Then briefly explain a few of the features you like or don’t like to show the employer you actually did sign up for the free trials. Again, no lying!
So, you’re ready for your interview. You know how to avoid these rookie job interview mistakes. Put on your role-appropriate attire and knock ’em dead.
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