Ugh! You just bombed another interview. Your resume is great. Your cover letter earns you an interview. And then, you blow it! You keep asking yourself, “What am I doing wrong in interviews?”
You’re not alone. A lot of great employees still can’t get a job. They’re making fatal interview mistakes that cannot be overcome by skills and experience. Your interviewer is trying to decide if you will fit into their office culture. They want to see the real you, so be authentic.
Here are five things you’re doing wrong in interviews and how to stop doing them!
Mistake #1. Asking irrelevant questions. If you ask an irrelevant question, it just shows that you’re not prepared and, worse yet, uninterested. Every job posting receives 250 responses. Only a handful get called for an interview. If you’re one of the lucky ones, be engaged.
The solution? Do your homework before the interview. Learn about the company and the role you’re hoping to fill. Prepare and practice responding to questions you’ll likely be asked. Here are two questions you can ask in any interview to show you’re engaged, prepared, and interested in the position.
- What metrics do you use to gage success in this role?
- What is one direction you would like your next employee to take with this role?
Mistake #2. Talking negatively about former employers or positions. You may have been laid off due to COVID or fired. Either way, a foul taste may still be lingering from how you and your former employer ended things. Whatever you do, leave it at the door!
The solution? It is possible you will be asked why you left your last position. This is not an invitation to tell your interviewer all the horrible things about your last job. Follow this formula to respond to questions about your former employer – who you just happen to hate!
- Think about the last position you held and write down five things you really liked about the role including what you learned, the people, any growth or education opportunities, or anything else that is positive.
- Also write down the five things you did not like, such as my boss never gave me a chance to express my ideas, the company said they fostered growth but only on their terms, and so on.
- Combine what you liked and didn’t like to answer the question about your last position and why you left the company. Here’s an example. “At XYZ Company, I was taught a new LMS system which really worked well. After being at the company awhile, I found other opportunities the company could use LMS for so I approached my manager and asked if I could make a presentation. I was told that all of the decisions were made by senior management. I continued to work for XYZ Company and tried several more times to present ideas. In my next role, I want to work with a company that fosters a team approach to solving problems and making a profit.”
Mistake #3. Not adequately connecting the dots. By the time you’re asked to interview, your resume has been read and your LinkedIn profile has been searched. The employer was able to determine that you might be a viable candidate. During the interview, it is your turn to convince the employer to move forward with you as a candidate.
The solution? This is where you will connect the dots. You will show your interviewer how your skills specifically apply to the role. Show up prepared to demonstrate how your experience and education match what they’re looking for. And please! Listen to the question being asked before you divvy out a laundry list of skills. Be able to back up your experience with real-life examples.
Mistake #4. Failing to find a connection. One HR guru, Liz Ryan, calls this disappearing in your chair. Remember I said the employer wants to know if you will fit into their office culture.
The solution? You do this by connecting with the interview team. Three great ways to do this are to:
- Ask questions about the company that are genuine and also show that you’ve researched the company you want to work for.
- Ask your interviewers to highlight some of the challenges previous employees have had in the role. Be prepared to answer how you might work differently to overcome these.
- Tell stories that show your personality and how that aligns with your work persona. For example, if you are a people person, you can tell a story about how you stepped up as a liaison between two co-workers who were not working well together. You used your people skills to negotiate the challenges each was experiencing for a positive outcome for the company.
Mistake #5. Failing to get enough out of the interview. When you go for an interview, you’re focused on selling yourself. Don’t forget, the company needs to sell itself, too. The last thing you want is to accept a job you think is great because you sold yourself well only to start and find it miserable! When you’re interviewing, you want enough information to assure yourself you’ll be happy for at least a year.
The solution? Use the power of observation from the minute you walk through the door. Are people smiling? Are people engaged? Are they talking to each other? Other points to consider include commute distance, location of the business – will you be concerned your car will be safe parked all day at the office. Notice the general surroundings inside the office and outside.
Follow these tips and you won’t be leaving asking yourself, “what am I doing wrong in interviews.” You’ll be leaving with a follow-up plan and a leg up in the interview process.
Sick of applying for jobs and not hearing back? Click HERE for a FREE course on how to land a job you love!