How To Avoid Interview Mistakes

Do you ever wish you could take back a mistake you make during a job interview?  I think we all have.  Careerbuilder.com is out with a survey of some of the most common mistakes people make during job interviews.  And some of the stupid ones.  Here are a few of the most unusual blunders reported by hiring managers:

  • Candidate wore a business suit with flip flops.
  • Candidate asked if the interviewer wanted to meet for a drink after.
  • Candidate applying for a customer service job said “I don’t really like working with people.”
  • Candidate had applied for an accounting job, yet said he was “bad at managing money.”

We’ve all been there.  I’ve had a few I’ve wanted mulligans on.  One time I flew across country to meet my family for vacation.  Right after landing, I got a call from a news director asking to meet me.  I said, “Sure, no problem.” I got right back on the plane and took the red-eye back across country.   I met the news director and general manager for lunch, where they grilled me more than the chicken I was eating.  I was so tired, I was slurring my words.  And I couldn’t focus and concentrate on my answers.  Guess what?  I didn’t get the job.  I know, big surprise.   But I’m sure I was the talk of the newsroom when they went back to the station.

At a time when competition for employment is at an all-time high, it’s important to have polished interview skills.  We recently brought in 20 out-of-work people to help them find jobs.   I asked them three basic questions on camera:  What are you looking for?  What are your skills?  Why should I hire you?   Many did fine, but many others tanked.  When I asked one woman that last question she just stared at me for 30 seconds.  “Thanks, that’s a wrap”, I said.  Here’s how one of the guys answered the same question:  “Well, I don’t drink alcohol anymore.”  Whoa, too much information.  Afterwards he told me he’s a convicted felon, recently got out of prison, and hopes that won’t hold him back.  Do you think?

The Careerbuilder survey found some of the most common mistakes candidates made during an interview:

  • Dressing inappropriately (like wearing a suit and flip flops) – 57%
  • Appearing disinterested – 55%
  • Speaking negatively about a current or previous employer – 52%
  • Other errors included appearing arrogant, answering a cell phone or texting during the interview, or not asking good questions.

So here’s what the experts say you should do to help land that job:

  • Research the company.  By doing your homework you show the hiring manager you value their time and that you want to be part of the organization.
  • Practice ahead of time. Go through common interview questions with a friend or family member.
  • Stay positive.  If you say something bad about a previous employer, hiring managers may fear that you will say the same things about their organization.

I might add one more thing from my own experience.  Get plenty of rest before the interview.  Otherwise you might be slurring your words, and you can’t blame that one on the alcohol.

3 Comments on “How To Avoid Interview Mistakes

  1. Liked your info about the most common mistakes. I’m not surprised over 50% of those surveyed stated something negative about prior employers. Of course one may not been feeling great about a most recent departure so wearing those feelings openly seem hard to conceal. I have recently been laid off as of last Tuesday. I have given much thought to what my answer to those sort of questions that will surface during my interview. I want to be prepared and put all behind me to move forward, not dwell on those would-a should-a could-of’s and toss out the negative. No need to rehash with what you want to be a fresh relationship. Feeling confident I will not be unemployed long. Having a PMA, positive mental attitude will be my key to success!

    • I wish you the best in your job hunt. I think you’re right on track. In these tough economic times, positive thoughts and attitudes are contagious. Employers can sense it. Remember, they’re pretty much in the same boat, and they need good employees to lead their companies back to financial stability. Anyway, good luck. BTW I used to live and work in Vegas.
      Mark

  2. Pingback: Do These 5 Things To Turn Off Potential Employers « In the Noozroom

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