Top Mistakes To Avoid During a Job Interview
Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview for your dream job. Now, it’s time to prepare to impress the interviewer and increase your chances of getting hired.
It’s important to avoid mistakes, and be mindful of what you say and do during the interview. Using the wrong words or phrases can knock you out of contention for the job. Not taking the time to learn about the company or complaining about your previous employers can also be issues.
Preparing in advance, keeping it positive, and showing the employer why you’re the best candidate for the role, will help you make the best impression on everyone you meet and avoid glitches that could cost you a job offer.
Here are some of the worst mistakes job seekers can make during the job interview process and what to say or do instead to make a positive impression.
The Worst Job Interview Mistake
Being dishonest is one of the worst mistakes you can make during a job interview. It can make the interview process more stressful and come back to haunt you down the road, even if you get the job.
What Can Happen if You Get Caught
There’s a good chance that you’ll get caught if you lie or exaggerate your qualifications or experience. Not only will this damage your reputation and credibility, but it can also cost you a job offer and lead to termination if you get hired. Not telling the truth during an interview is grounds for termination from employment.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Get Caught
Even if you get hired based on false information, you will likely struggle in the role, as you won’t have the necessary skills or knowledge to perform well. In the long run, being honest and upfront about your qualifications and experience is always the best policy, as it helps build trust and credibility with potential employers.
What’s most important is to be truthful about your skills and experience during the interview process. Helping the interviewer determine that you’re the right candidate for the job will benefit you and the employer.
More Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid
In addition to not being honest, other mistakes can hinder your chances of getting hired, including the following:
Before the Interview
Arriving late or unprepared. Showing up late or unprepared can create a negative impression right from the beginning. To avoid this, arrive on time, dress appropriately, and bring an extra copy of your resume and a list of references. Spend some time getting ready for the interviewing so you’re prepared to ace it.
Tip: When you have a remote interview, ensure all your technology is working so you don’t have any last-minute glitches connecting with the interviewer.
Failing to research the company. Not researching the company before the interview can signal a lack of interest or initiative. Instead, research the company beforehand, and come up with questions and comments demonstrating your knowledge and enthusiasm.
During the Interview
Not being nice. One of the best ways to make a bad impression is not being nice during an interview. It’s important to be nice to everyone you meet—including the janitor, the receptionist, prospective co-workers, and whomever else you encounter. On a related note, don’t be arrogant and head into the interview assuming you’ve got the job. Companies are looking for employees that are a good fit, and nice (and positive) applicants who show they are a match are more likely to fit in with most company cultures.
Not showing that you’re qualified for the role. One of the most important things you can do during an interview is to show the hiring manager why you are a fit for the job you’re applying for. Match your qualifications, skills, experience, and education to those listed in the job requirements.
Tip: One of the best ways to do this is to use the STAR interview technique to show the employer you’re well-qualified.
Giving overly rehearsed answers. While preparing for common interview questions is important, giving overly rehearsed answers can come across as robotic or insincere. Instead, practice your responses enough to feel confident but be flexible enough to adapt to the specific context and tone of the conversation.
Being too casual or informal with your language. Your tone and language style should be professional, concise, and articulate. Using slang, jargon, or too many fillers such as “like,” “um,” or “you know” will give the image that you lack professionalism and confidence. Instead, practice speaking in clear, confident, and concise language. Use professional jargon only when necessary.
Criticizing or complaining about your previous employer. Even if you had a terrible experience, avoid bad-mouthing your previous company, as the interviewer may think you aren’t a team player. Criticizing past employers or coworkers can make you seem unprofessional and difficult to work with. Instead, focus on your achievements, skills, and how your experience can contribute to the company. For example, you can say, “I learned a lot at my previous job, and I’m excited to continue to learn and grow with a new company.”
Saying you don’t have any weaknesses. Every person has weaknesses, and acknowledging them will show the interviewer that you have self-awareness and are willing to learn and improve. For example, you can say, “One of my weaknesses is time management, but I’ve been taking steps to improve this by using productivity tools such as automated schedules and task lists.” Do be sure that the weakness you share isn’t critical for success on the job.
Asking for information on the salary or benefits package. Asking about the compensation package too early in the interview process may give the impression that you are more interested in the money than the job or the company. Instead, focus on your qualifications, skills, and how you can add value to the company. If the interviewer brings up the salary first, you can then provide your expected salary based on market rates.
Not asking questions. Failing to ask questions can signal a lack of interest or engagement. Instead, prepare a few thoughtful questions in advance, and be willing to ask follow-up questions based on the interviewer’s responses.
Tip: Remember, job interviews are a two-way street, and you’re also interviewing your interviewer to ensure the position is a good fit.
After the Interview
Forgetting to follow up with a thank you message. After your interview, following up with a professional thank-you note is important, reiterating your interest in the job and how you can add value to the company. A thank-you note will show the interviewer you are serious about the job.
Reduce Interview Stress
Interviewing can be a nerve-wracking and stressful experience. However, taking the time to prepare and being mindful of what you say can increase your chances of getting hired. These free online interview practice tools will help you ensure you’re ready.
The more aware you are of what you shouldn’t say and do during a job interview, the more you can focus on impressing the interviewer and showing them how you can help the company.
Believe in yourself and your skills, be professional and confident, and ace that interview!