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Tips For Job Interviews: Avoidable Interview Mistakes
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If you’ve ever attended a job interview, then you know how nerve wracking they can be. As soon as you leave the interview your mind starts re-running it and you tell yourself all the things you did wrong, the questions you should have answered better, the things you wish you’d said and the questions you should have asked but didn’t. This is a common thing to do and the chances are you’ll always think there are things that you can do better. So one of my top tips for job interview, is review what happened, learn from the experience and then move on.

Having said that, there are some mistakes that candidates makes at job interviews that are totally avoidable and you should not make. So here is my list of top 10 avoidable interview mistakes

1. Being unprepared

There really is no excuse for not being prepared for a job interview. Don’t leave your preparation until the last minute. Telling yourself that you work better under pressure and applying that to interviews is madness. Make sure you have done all necessary research. Not knowing about an organisation will not impress the interviewer.

2. Being unprepared for standard questions

Whatever jobs you apply for there will always be some standard interview questions. Don’t fall into the trap of not being prepared for them. I’ve interviewed may people over the years, and a common remark from candidates is “I didn’t expect you to ask that question”. I’ve often been tempted to say “Well you should have!” You may not know the exact question, but you can guess the areas which you will be questioned on from the job description and person specification.

3. Ignoring basic interview etiquette

Of all the avoidable interview mistakes there are this is one that I really do believe there is no excuse for. People who ignore basic etiquette make me rather cross There is no excuse for chewing gum, leaving your mobile phone on or turning up looking a mess. It just isn’t respectful.

4. Complaining or making excuses

Most people would probably think that I should have included on a list of avoidable interview mistakes that one of them would be about nor running late. Well actually I didn’t include it quite deliberately. Of course you shouldn’t be late for an interview, but on rare occasions traffic does come into play. You may leave plenty of time to arrive but you really can’t predict a major road accident causing a delay. So although you shouldn’t be late I don’t think of it as one of the most avoidable interview mistakes. What I would say is that, if you’re late apologise, but don’t try going into lots of details However, justified the circumstances might be, it will sound as if you’re making excuses.

Don’t make complaints about the interview processes even if you think you’re justified to do so. I once complained about being cold in one of the waiting rooms because it was making me feel ill. Not surprisingly they weren’t impressed , even though the chief executive later came in and remarked how cold it was. Complain later if you must, but not at the time.

5. Trashing current or previous employees

Don’t fall into the trap of criticising your current or previous employees. If you have had a difficult time within an organisation it’s even more important that you prepare for your job interview to ensure that you will not say anything indiscreet.

6. Asking the wrong questions or no questions at all

In this day and age everyone should know that you don’t ask about money during the interview. If you have any questions about the salary then make sure you’ve asked the HR department about them before hand. As well as asking the wrong questions, asking no questions at all is a bad mistake. The people most likely not to ask questions are those that are not prepared or internal candidates. Internal candidates think that because they already work for an organisation there is nothing for them to ask. Think again. Again amongst the avoidable interview mistakes – this is one for which there really is no excuse for making. If you’re applying for a new job, even internally you cannot know everything.

7. Lying.

There is just no need to lie at a job interview. Don’t make claims that you have experience of something that you haven’t. I once employed someone who had far less experience than some of the other candidates, but they were very good about describing what they would do rather than what they had done. For me it was these answers that were very much more impressive and she was appointed on the experience she had and the potential she showed. She was a great appointment. Lying is a completely avoidable interview mistake.

8. Sounding bored or disinterested.

If you’re not interested in a job, then you shouldn’t be applying for it. However, I can see that there might be an occasion when someone chooses to apply for a job, because they just need a job. If you do that you still need to have made the decision before attending an interview that you want the job and be enthusiastic about it. Sounding bored is an absolute no no.

9. Being unable to sell yourself.

If you’re attending a job interview you need to be able to sell yourself and talk about your strengths and weakness. There is no excuse for not being able to talk effectively about yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

10. Being over-rehearsed.

Anyone who has ever read any of my interview advice will know how much I talk about the importance of being prepared, and so you should be. If you're going to be asked some tough questions you want to have thought about it. However, in the interview there is nothing worse than listening to someone who is over-rehearsed and sounds like they’re reading off a cue card. So prepare but remember, you have to be natural.

I hope you find these tips on avoidable interview mistakes useful. Remember, you will make mistakes. On average people attend 7 interviews before they’re successful. You won’t always get it right but be aware that some mistakes are avoidable.


Street Talk

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