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These 10 Interview Mistakes Could Keep You From Getting Your Dream Job

interview mistakes

Overview

These 10 Interview Mistakes Could Keep You From Getting Your Dream Job

Let’s talk about interview mistakes. Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!

You’ve been applying for jobs and have finally landed an interview. Congratulations! But if you think the interview is a mere formality before locking in an offer—think again. Assuming you’ve already gotten the job is a surefire way to turn off your interviewers. They don’t want cocky employees; they want reliable ones. The interview is your chance to show them that you will be a good fit for their company. This article will share a list of ten interview mistakes to avoid.

Interview Mistake #1: Arriving Late

Showing up for an interview after it’s scheduled to begin is a huge red flag for a potential employer. Not only does it portray you as unreliable, but it’s also a blatant show of disrespect. Busy interviewers have better things to do with their time than sitting in an empty room, waiting for you. Make sure you’re on time or, better yet, a few minutes early in case the hiring managers have additional paperwork for you to fill out.

Interview Mistake #2: Not Researching the Company

Companies need to work as a team to reach their goals, and your interviewers are trying to find out if you’re a good fit for the team. One way to determine that fit is to find out what you already know about the business.

If you can’t be bothered to find out what type of product they manufacture or their mission statement, it shows that you don’t care about the company or what it does.

You need to be knowledgeable about—and on board with—their game plan. To do that, research before the interview is critical.

interview mistakes tips

Researching your prospective employer will also help you understand what kind of salary you can expect. Use a portal like Glassdoor.com to get detailed information about average salaries, typical salary ranges, and additional pay like bonuses and stock options at the company. In a day and age where 75% of Americans have credit card debt to pay off and the individual credit card debt in America averages $5,910, you need to make sure you’ll be fairly compensated for your skills and experience.

Interview Mistake #3: Not Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the most common and annoying interview questions is asking about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s not a bad thing to have a liability, and it won’t necessarily keep you from getting hired. Your employer needs to know what areas you may need training to succeed in or whether you have a good temperament for the position.

You may have read advice about turning your weakness into a strength. For example, “My biggest weakness is that I work too hard.” News flash: your interviewers are onto that trick, which won’t leave them impressed.

Be honest about your weaknesses, and be prepared to explain what you do to overcome them. That will be much more impressive than pretending you don’t have any imperfections or playing word games.

Interview Mistake #4: Bashing Your Current or Previous Employer

While it may be tempting to answer the question, “Why are you leaving your current employer?” with a list of all the things management is doing wrong at that company, don’t fall for it. No one wants to hear you complain. Not only do they not care what’s going on in other companies, but it will probably leave them wondering what you might say about them if things don’t work out between you.

This is one of those situations where if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Instead, try pointing out the ways your potential employer does things differently, which inspired you to seek this position.

Interview Mistake #5: Not Asking Questions

An interview shouldn’t feel like a one-way interrogation. Be aware of your value. An interview isn’t just an opportunity for a business to determine if you are a good fit for them. It’s also a chance to decide if they are a good fit for you. Now’s your chance to do so. The best way to do that is to have a list of questions you want to ask them. This also has the side benefit of showing them that you have prepared for the interview, which is always impressive.

Interview Mistake #6: Dressing Inappropriately or Having Poor Hygiene

If you’re applying for a job with a robust corporate culture, don’t show up in ripped jeans and a T-shirt. You may protest that your work reflects your value and your clothes shouldn’t matter, but they haven’t seen any of your work at this point.

The interviewers see your appearance, and like showing up late, not dressing appropriately signifies disrespect.

Even if you can’t afford top brands, make an effort to ensure you’re wearing your best, well-laundered clothes, or even hit the thrift stores for some discount deals.

interview tips

If you do remember to wear the correct work attire to the interview, don’t go out for a spaghetti lunch beforehand. While all of us occasionally end up wearing our lunch on our shirts, it’s best to avoid it right before you try to make a good impression. You should also be bathed and neatly groomed. You may be the right person for the job, but if it’s hard to get past your messy, unkempt hair, you probably won’t get it.

Interview Mistake #7: Not Bringing Your Resume

Yes, they probably already received a copy of your resume when you applied for the job, but bring a few more copies, anyway. Or, if you’re going to be interviewing virtually, ensure the interviewers have received copies to review via email. You’re not the only person they’re interviewing; sometimes resumes get misplaced or not printed out in the rush of back-to-back interviews. In addition, it’s another one of those opportunities for you to show off your preparation for this interview.

Interview Mistake #8: Lying on Your Resume

With that said, make sure that the resume you bring is truthful. Lying on a resume to make yourself look better makes you look worse. It’s not as hard as it used to be to verify what you say about yourself, so save everyone the hassle and tell the truth.

Interview Mistake #9: Not Being Able to Name Specific Examples

When an interviewer asks you a question that begins with “Tell me about a time when you…,” they are expecting an answer that involves a specific situation that happened. An important aspect of interview preparation is to review your previous experience and find examples of where you faced difficult situations and were able to resolve them.

And if you weren’t able to resolve them? Again, please don’t lie about it. Instead, explain what you learned from the experience and what you would do differently if you had to do it again.

Interview Mistake #10: Not Being Fully Present

When the interview begins, be fully present for it. Give it your full attention.

Fidgeting makes it appear as if you’d rather be somewhere else, which is not a good impression. It’s also troublesome for an interviewer if you cannot make eye contact with them. It makes it appear as if you have something to hide, and an interviewer who thinks you’re hiding something isn’t going to trust you.

job interview mistakes

After all, isn’t that what an interview is about? Can you be counted on to get the job done?

It should also go without saying, but don’t pull your phone out of your pocket and start playing with it in the middle of the interview. Focus on the questions being asked, and be thoughtful with your answers, not distracted.

Conclusion: Interview Mistakes Can Cost You the Job

After reviewing this list of ten interview mistakes to avoid, you should feel confident about leaving a good first impression. Show up a few minutes early, looking your best, with copies of your resume. You’ve done your preparation, and you know how to answer the questions they’ll ask you, and you’ve got a few questions of your own ready to go. Stay calm and focused throughout the interview, and you’ll do just fine.

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer who covers employment trends. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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