It’s important to recognise the mistakes that are commonly made during a job interview so that you’re better prepared to avoid them. An awareness of these mistakes will help you be more confident and show the interviewer that you’re taking the interview seriously but also that you’re able to act appropriately in a professional setting. Whatever your skills and experience, you have only one chance to make a great first impression.
Not preparing for the interview
When an employer contacts you for an interview, you should research the company thoroughly.
Find out about its clients, its business and its corporate culture. Check out the company’s LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds, if it has them. Be able to discuss in detail the projects mentioned on their website. Get ready to answer the question: ‘Why are you interested in our company?’
And finally, think about how this experience fits into your career plan. The recruiter needs to feel that you want to join their company and that they’re not just one on a long list of companies to whom you’ve sent your CV.
Everyone knows that first impressions are very important in landing a job, but are you aware that you can make a bad first impression before you even get to your interview?
Arriving late is not only a sign of poor time management, but also shows a lack of respect for the company.
Do your utmost not to be late, and arrive on time or even early. Plan your time so that you arrive for the interview five to ten minutes early. That way, if something unexpected happens on the way to the interview, you’ll have enough time to deal with it.
Having gaps in your CV
The recruiter will undoubtedly want to discuss your different work experiences with you.
It’s understandable that some of them won’t be relevant enough to mention. Review the facts before your interview. If you need to, take the time to recreate your employment history to ensure that your CV is accurate. It may be helpful to have a copy of your CV to hand that you can refer to during your interview, but avoid using it as a crutch. Of course, you should never falsify facts on your CV. The more truthful your CV is, the easier it will be for you to talk about your past experience during the interview.
Playing a role
During a job interview, you should, of course, present the best version of yourself: it’s important that you manage to convey your expectations regarding the position you’re applying for, the company and your future colleagues. It will be in neither your best interest nor that of the company to give the answers the person in front of you wants to hear, or what you think is the best answer to fit the profile. You risk creating disappointment for both yourself and the recruiter further down the line, and wasting both your time and theirs.
Not being prepared to answer questions
Be ready to answer the most frequently asked interview questions.
The recruiter will probably ask you for more than basic information about where you’ve worked and when. To get an idea of your suitability for a job, they will take advantage of the time allotted to them to expand on everything they need to know about you as an employee. Don’t get caught off guard. Prepare for your interview by thinking about the questions you can expect to be asked and how you’ll answer them.
Likewise, prepare a list of questions to ask the employer so that you’re ready when you’re asked if you have any questions.
Using your phone during the interview
Before you go into your interview, put your phone on silent. Sending text messages during your interview is not only rude and disturbing, but it also makes it clear to your potential employer that getting the job is not your priority.
For the same reasons, don’t answer calls during the interview. To resist the temptation to check your phone, keep it on silent and put it away in your bag before the interview.
Denigrating former employers
Don’t make the mistake of talking badly about your boss or coworkers. You don’t want the other person to think that you might talk about their business like that if you leave on less than the best of terms. When you’re in a job interview, the recruiter needs to see that you can work well with other people and deal with conflict in a mature and effective way, rather than disparaging your colleagues or talking about other people’s incompetence.
If, despite all this advice, you think you’ve failed an interview, take the time to send the recruiter an email explaining your situation and your motivation and thanking them for giving you the opportunity to attend the interview. After each interview, it’s a good idea to take stock of what needs to be improved so you don’t repeat the same mistakes and are even better prepared for future interviews.
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