Interviewing for a new job can be nerve-wracking. You want to make the best possible impression on the hiring manager to show you’re the right candidate for the role. While it’s important to prepare for common interview questions you’ll likely be asked, it’s equally important to avoid making common mistakes that could cost you the job offer. Here are 8 common mistakes to steer clear of in your next job interview.
1. Arriving Late
Punctuality is key for any interview. Arriving late, even just by a few minutes, gives the impression you don’t value the interviewer’s time. It also signals potential issues with reliability if you can’t make it to the interview on time. Give yourself extra time to arrive 10-15 minutes early. Account for factors like traffic or transportation issues. Better to have time to spare in the waiting area than scramble to get there at the last minute.
2. Dressing Inappropriately
Take cues from the company’s culture to determine appropriate interview attire. Most professional roles call for formal business dress, such as a suit and tie. Research the company ahead of time to double check. Underdressing could imply you didn’t put effort into preparing. Drastically overdressing has its own issues. The key is finding the right balance between professionalism and fitting into the workplace culture. When in doubt, it’s better to err on the formal side.
3. Badmouthing Former Employers
Never badmouth past employers or managers during an interview. Even if your experience wasn’t positive, focus the conversation on the positives you gained. Badmouthing will only reflect poorly on you. Interviewers will wonder if you will end up complaining about their company too if they hire you. Stay professional and keep things focused on moving your career forward vs dwelling on the past.
4. Getting Too Personal
An interview focuses on your ability to perform the job duties successfully. While most interviews start with some icebreaker chat, avoid getting overly personal with your responses. Keep things professional vs oversharing personal opinions, issues, or non-work related stories. The interview isn’t the place to get deeply into your personal life or beliefs. Stay focused on selling yourself as the top candidate.
5. Not Having Questions Prepared
The interviewer will likely end with asking if you have any questions for them. Being unprepared with intelligent questions of your own can cost you. Asking no questions sends the signal you lack interest or enthusiasm. Show up with thoughtful questions that provide more insights about the company, culture, challenges of the role, training opportunities, career growth, etc. Jot these down ahead of time so you’re ready.
6. Appearing Desperate
Avoid overt desperation no matter how much you want the job. While enthusiasm is great, outright pleading is not. Similarly, avoid framing yourself as willing to take any job or accept below market pay just to gain employment with the company. Position yourself as excited by the opportunity but not desperate for it at any cost. Know your worth and stick to it. The right fit will come with the role and company culture lined up with your skills.
7. Not Knowing Anything About the Company
Do your research before the interview. Arriving knowing little to nothing about the company looks disinterested at best, careless at worst. Find key facts, mission statement, products/services, culture, recent news, etc. This shows initiative on your part. The interviewer wants to know you took time to understand their company and the role’s place within it. Being informed gives you an advantage over other candidates who didn’t put in that effort.
8. Failing to Follow Up
Stand out by following up after the interview with a thank you note. Email the interviewer within 24 hours, briefly thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest and qualifications.
This simple gesture can give you an edge over the equally qualified candidate who didn’t follow up. Reconnect by highlighting something useful from your discussion. Follow up shows you’re truly interested and invested in pursuing the opportunity.
Stay confident through the interview process by steering clear of these common pitfalls. Know what to avoid saying and doing so you can put your best foot forward, increasing your chances of landing the job. With preparation and practice, you’ll be ready to interview successfully.
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