Congratulations on getting the interview! Your polished resume caught the attention of the recruiter and they have scheduled an interview with their company. Now what? Having an eye-catching resume is key to getting the meeting, but knowing what to do and what not to do in an interview can be the difference in getting your next opportunity. As a professional recruiter, I’ve been a part of hundreds of interviews over the years. Beyond the basics of dressing accordingly and showing up on time, it’s also very important to know what not to do in an interview. Below are 4 mistakes you should avoid if you want to ace your next interview.
Not Asking Quality Questions
Not asking quality questions about the company or the position is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when interviewing. If you’re not able to ask quality questions, it shows that you didn’t do your research. This may also tell the hiring manager you’re not that interested in the role. Hiring managers want you to be curious and interested in their organization and you can show this by asking quality questions. When we prep a candidate before the interview, we ask them to research the company and come prepared with questions. Before stepping foot in their office or talking to them on the phone you should have a baseline knowledge about the company and the position. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to do research and come prepared with questions. Some ways you can obtain information on the company is visiting their website, using LinkedIn to see if you have any connections you can talk to who work there, and searching on Google to see the latest news on the company.
Lacking Energy and Enthusiasm
Going to job interviews and answering questions from a panel can sometimes be nerve-wracking. But don’t let that affect the way you present yourself or communicate. As a recruiter, I love meeting candidates who are positive and upbeat about what they do. Same goes for employers. They are looking for people who are passionate about what they do, excited about the position, and enthusiastic about joining their company. If you sound flat or monotone, you may give off the impression that you’re not interested. Also, slouching in your chair and not making eye contact is body language you should avoid. Some tips to solve this is to talk a little louder than you usually would. Sit up straight if you’re sitting down and make sure you’re correctly projecting your voice especially on phone interviews. In the end, you really want to make it seem like you’ve been looking forward to talking with them and are excited to be there in the interview.
Talking Too Much
Another common mistake I see in interviews is talking too much. A few years back, I had a candidate interview for a job and his technical background fit the job description perfectly. He ended up not getting the job because the manager said he was talking 95% of the time in the interview. Communication is a two-way street and an interview should flow organically like a conversation. When you respond to questions, your goal is to make sure you understood and make the best presentation of your talents. But if your answer is longer than 3 minutes, you could end up talking your way right out of the job. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. After those seconds, people begin to listen with less intensity and eventually their mind will begin to wonder. If you catch yourself talking too much, stop and ask “Is this the level of detail you are looking for?” or “Is this the type of example you’re interested in?” These questions help to reengage your listener and improve two-way communication.
Not “Closing the Sale”
So, you nailed the interview and feel really good about getting an offer. All the prep work and research you’ve done has played its part. The interview is winding down and there is time for a couple more questions. A lot of people at this stage make the mistake of not asking about next steps or reiterating their interest in the position. By not asking about next steps you leave the interview wondering where you stand and what to expect about the next steps. Also, if you don’t communicate your interest in the position to the hiring manager at the end of the interview, you leave them guessing if you want the job. We had a candidate interview one time and the interview went well between the candidate and the hiring manager. The candidate answered the questions perfectly and we followed up with the hiring to get her decision. She told us she thought the candidate would be a great fit but didn’t know if the candidate was interested in the job. By asking about next steps and confirming your interest, you close the interview and lead the manager into thinking you want the job. Remember, a job seeker’s goal is to sell herself/himself to the hiring manager and closing the sale is an important step in getting the job you want.
Good luck out there!
If you can avoid these mistakes, you’ll likely crush the interview and walk away knowing you did everything you could do to get the job. Even if you do make a mistake, it’s important to learn from it and be even more prepared for the next one. Good luck out there!
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