DON'T RUIN AN OTHERWISE SOLID INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THESE ALL-TOO-COMMON ROOKIE MISTAKES.
If you’re like many other young professionals, you’ve probably had interviews for part-time gigs or perhaps even college admissions in the past, but don’t have much experience interviewing for professional or full-time positions. It’s easy to equate these types of interviews and think you’re ready to tackle the big guys. Don’t go in unprepared—make sure you do your best and avoid these common interviewing mistakes.
1. GIVING POOR BODY LANGUAGE
It’s normal to be nervous, but it’s also important to stay calm and exude confidence. Fidgeting, slouching and looking down are all common mistakes that tell an interviewer “I don’t believe in myself.” Your job is to not only indicate that you believe in yourself, but why they should believe in you, too! Give consistent eye contact, sit up straight and lean a bit forward. Avoid playing with your pen, hair or jewelry.
To kick off the conversation, employers will often ask you to walk them through your resume or tell them about yourself. Your answer should be a minute and a half to two minutes in length—not 15. It’s tempting to go on and on so as to not leave out an important experience or detail, but you will have time to give other examples if you allow the employer to ask other questions. Hit the highlights and explain what relevant experience you have had that will make you well-suited for the job and how the job aligns with your career goals. Employers will appreciate a detailed yet concise answer that enables them to get to other questions they have prepared.
3. PROVIDING A CLICHE ANSWER FOR YOUR "WEAKNESS"
Many people think it’s best to not actually provide a weakness and instead give an answer such as “I take on too much” or “I’m a perfectionist.” While these statements may be true for you, interviewers want to hear something a bit less cliché and more genuine. It’s less about the weakness and more about how self-aware you are. What are you doing to grow and improve upon this weakness? That will show interviewers maturity and authenticity.
4. NOT ASKING QUESTIONS
Employers will typically allow time at the end of an interview for the candidates to ask questions. A statement such as “No, I don’t have any questions for you” essentially sends the message that you aren’t interested. Take this opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the position by asking intelligent questions. Research the organization ahead of time and never ask a question that could be easily answered from the website. The employer has taken the time to interview you and it is in your best interest to take a few minutes to interview them as well. Keep in mind that they want to make sure it is a good fit for all parties involved.
5. FORGETTING TO SAY THANK YOU
A simple email to thank the employer for their time and consideration is generally sufficient. Reiterate your interest and a few short points about why you believe you’re a great fit for the job. Most employers expect to get this email within 24 hours following the interview.
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Interviewing can be a nerve-wracking experience, but avoiding these common pitfalls will help you stay calm, confident and one step ahead of the competition.