09:05 28 July 2009
With unemployment levels bursting at the seams, the prospect of a job interview can make a lot of people lose their head and make mistakes.
Here are some of the most common errors made by the interviewee and how to make sure they don't happen to you:
1. Not preparing enough
There is such a thing as over preparing and coming off as too clever for your own good, but what's worse is a lack of preparation. Don't ask questions like "What is your company's main goal?" The chances are that basic information like this will have been on the job application or on the company's website.
2. Dressing too casually
No one turns up to an interview in a tuxedo or a ball gown but a professional image must be maintained, even if it isn't for a prim and proper office job. First impressions say a lot about the future of your would-be employment, and looking smart (and showing up early) shows that you can put in that little bit of extra effort when need be. Plus, it's better to joke about being overdressed than underdressed.
3. Being overly modest
This is your time to shine against the competition. If it's relevant, get it out there. Answer the question and then expand on it based on your own individual skills. In the same respect, don't sing your own praises too much. At the end of the day, they've got to work alongside you so try not to come off as annoyingly full of yourself.
4. Talking too much
Inevitably, those who never cease to talk won't always be saying amazing (or even relevant) points, so if you talk a lot when you're nervous just remember that an interview is a conversation. It should go back and forth. Don't forget that you can ask questions too, but most importantly sit and listen to theirs and answer them only after you've thought of your response.
5. It's not all about money
Actually it might be all about money, but don't come off as cash obsessed and never make the issue of salary your first question. The interviewer wants to know how and why you're going to earn it, not what you're going to spend it on.
6. Not asking questions
Even if you're the perfect candidate on paper, it's inevitable that the job will be based on communication (pretty much every occupation is). Prepare at least three decent questions to ask. At the end of the day, their answer may not be sufficient for you and you may not actually want the job after their response. It's better to know as much as you can before you're hired.
7. Not knowing your own facts
Yes, you've probably filled all this out countless times before but there's always a chance that you'll be asked once again when you left your previous job, what grades you got in school and so forth. At least write them down and keep them in your pocket it's better than mumbling your way through your own life story before getting to the point.
8. Giving the wrong answers
It sounds obvious but you really don't want to tell them what they don't want to hear. When asked a question that you may not have the 'right' answer for, take some time to collect your thoughts and then tackle it (or even answer around it). Even if you have no experience in the relevant field, stress that you're eager to learn and that you accept challenges.
9. Never burn bridges
Did you hate your old boss? Your potential new boss doesn't need (or want) to know about it. If asked why you left your old position, don't start ranting and raving just be diplomatic and professional, e.g. say the prior company didn't challenge or engage you enough. Be careful when badmouthing your professional past it's a small world. Would you hire somebody who has hated every job they've ever had?
10. Not following up the interview
Don't start ringing them up every day or even worse asking them how you did directly after the interview. But do, however, drop a friendly handwritten letter or concise email after about a week to say thank you for their time and for them to get in touch regardless of the outcome. It's unlikely, but you may have been the perfect candidate but they neglected to take down your number.
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