The Top 10 Worst Interview Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making

Let’s cut to the chase: Interviews are hard. Trying to explain all of your life’s achievements in an hour while still trying to make yourself seem like an enjoyable person is difficult.There are probably many tips you have been given about interviews. How to prepare, how to dress, what to say and how to answer the “describe yourself” question are probably obvious at this point. But what about the less obvious flaws in your interview? What about the mistakes you don’t even know you’re making? Well we’re here to help. Here are the top 10 mistakes that you don’t even realize you might be making.

1. Checking your phone
Now this might seem obvious. Nobody wants to hire someone that cannot be bothered to stop texting during an interview. But most graduates of today use their smartphones for more than just texting or calling. You might be sitting in an interview and wonder what time it is. Many go straight for their phones, look at the time on the screen and put their phones back before they’ve even realized they’ve done it. The employer could find this unprofessional or uncaring.
2. Being too “professional”
If you are trying to be on your very best behavior, there’s a chance you could come off too cold and clinical. You need to make sure that you are being positive and acting like your normal self. Acting mostly professional might help you look good in an interview but your potential employer is also looking for someone that would work well with their company culture. They are looking for someone that coworkers would get along with and someone who fits in with their environment.
3. Vocal disfluencies
Vocal disfluencies include using like, um, huh, urm, uh and well, regularly in their speech. These disfluencies might make you look unprepared or nervous. Also watch your speech patterns if you often make every sentence end as if it were a question, speaking too fast or are speaking in other unprofessional manners, you could lose your chance at the position.
4. Too generic
After going to too many interviews, the positions might start sounding the same. You start going in expecting the same questions about the same topics and feel fully prepared to go into each similar interview. This is a problem because businesses expect you to know about their company. If you aren’t able to ask specific questions to their company or pick up on their company culture, they might see it as disinterest. Nobody wants to hire someone who just wants a job. They want to hire someone that likes their industry, their company and gets excited about this opportunity.
5. Negativity
Nobody wants to hear about other people’s drama. If you had a problem with a previous coworker, boss, or professor, keep it to yourself. Talking badly about others make you look unprofessional. Try to speak as positively as you can and move forward in the conversation. Plus an employer would think if you speak badly about a previous boss, there’s nothing to keep you from speaking poorly about them.
6. Using scholastic achievement in place of experience
Now this is what nobody in your high school or college wanted you to know. Businesses take your scholastic achievement seriously. If you did well in school, it shows you have many great skills to put forward. The issue is when you try to make school or extracurricular activities look like experience. It might be great if you were part of an organization that taught you leadership skills, volunteering for a cause and teamwork, but those are skills and do not necessarily take the place of time spent in any corporate environment. If you have never spent time in the industry, it is usually better to be straightforward about your lack of experience. Trying to place your skills that you learned in another environment makes you look even less prepared for the job at hand.
7. Saying you have other offers
The company that hires you wants to be your first choice. Telling them you have other offers might create a feeling of unease. If they interview someone after you who really wants to work with them, they might assume that the next interviewer cares more or has a more likelihood of taking their offer. You should also keep salary concerns to yourself in the first interview. If the company asks you about what you want for your salary, you can politely say that you’d rather not answer the question. Your salary is your business.
8. Not asking questions
If you are asked at the end of your interview if you have any other questions, you should. It makes you look unprepared or uninterested if you don’t have any questions to ask the interviewer. Ask about what a normal day looks like in the position or what some major goals are for the position at hand. You could even say that you can’t think of questions right now, but might have some later and ask whom you should contact.
9. The dreaded question
As the interview is ending and your interviewer asks if you have any other questions. The worst answer you can give is: “Is there any reason you wouldn’t hire me?” This is problematic because it puts the interviewer on the spot asking if you have the position, where it might not be their place to tell you. It makes them uncomfortable and will likely not get you a critical answer.
10. Not saying thank you.
If you don’t make a conscious effort to thank your interviewer after the interviewer, you might miss your chance. Make sure that you shake your interviewer’s hand after the interview and say “Thank you for your consideration” or “Thank you for your time”. You should also write a follow up thank you note. Depending on the company’s culture, this could either be a handwritten note put into the mail or a personalized email that you send shortly after the interview.

For other interview questions and tips, visit our blog!

Self Improvement Month

This month is national Self Improvement Month, which means it is the perfect time to reevaluate your interview habits. Interviews can be an especially daunting part of the job hunting process. Here are some tips that will make your interview less nerve wracking!

Do Your Research

Research will help you look more prepared and interested in the opportunity. Start by researching general interview questions  that you are likely to be asked. Then research the company that has asked you to interview. Knowing information about the company shows you care about this job and the success of this company. This can also help you to gauge the company culture to decide what is best to wear to the interview. Knowing what is appropriate to wear can show that you are a good fit with the other employees. If you are still unsure as to what to wear to the interview, it might be worthwhile to call the office where your interview will take place. Go to sleep a little early so that you are well rested for the interview.

At The Interview

Go to your interview alone, do not take your children or any friends. Bring a copy of your resume to the interview and possibly a notepad in case you want to write down any follow up instruction. Get to the interview on time or 10 minutes early if possible. First thing to remember is to relax. You are prepared so make sure that you look confident, keep eye contact and remember to smile. Make positive and upbeat comments. Talk about what previous work experience you have that would relate to this position. Make sure that your phone is on silent and that you don’t check it during your interview. Never badmouth a previous boss or job, it looks unprofessional.

After the Interview

Make sure that you follow the follow up instructions. Check your email and phone for further information so that you can get back in a timely manner. Make sure to send a thank you note either written by hand or via email (handwritten is preferred most of the time). Thank them for their time and the opportunity they gave you to interview. If you had an obviously unsuccessful interview send a thank you note and ask for feedback on what you could have done better. For more tips like these or information about The Wilson Group, please visit our website or our Facebook.

Interview Follow Ups

Walking out of an interview can be a great feeling. You’ve gotten yourself in the door, made connections, made a great impression and now it’s just a waiting game to see if you are the chosen applicant for the job, right? Wrong! This is a common misconception many people have after interviewing for a job. After an interview it is crucial to follow up with the company to express your gratitude and reiterate your interest in the position. Oddly enough, this could be the most important step in the interview process. There are several ways to go about this and you must be sure not to cross the line of staying in touch and nagging your contacts. Here are some tips on the appropriate ways to follow up and complete the final phase of your interview.

1. Take a business card. Be sure to get a business card from each person that interviews you. If they do not offer one, do not be afraid to ask. Getting this will show them you’re interested in keeping in contact and provide you with all the needed information to reach out to them in the future.

2. Get a time frame. Ask for the hiring deadline so that you know when it is appropriate to reach out to them regarding their final decision if you have not yet heard from them. This serves as a quick reminder letting them see your interest and is a way for you to find out if the hiring process has been extended.

3. The first 24 hours are key. Email is today’s primary and fastest form of communication, so use it! Send a follow up email to thank your interviewer for his or her time, briefly highlight again why you believe you are a strong candidate and include anything important you may have forgotten to say in the actual interview. While 24 hours after the interview is appropriate, the sooner the better, so send the email within the first few hours following in order to show you are efficient and motivated.

4. Snail mail is still alive! Sending a hand-written thank you note in addition to an email will stress your interest and add a personal touch. Keep a set of stationary and stamps at your desk so you are able to write the letter and put it in the mail immediately following your interview. This does not have to be a novel, but rather a simple, sincere and to the point note expressing your appreciation.

5. Feel free to check in. If the interview process drags over a long period of time, send a quick email to keep your line of communication open every so often. Emailing the company once a week would be overkill, but if you interview in the fall and a position will not open till the spring, sending a brief email once a month is acceptable. Doing this will keep your name current and at the top of their list so when an opportunity arises you’re sure to come to mind.

Forgetting to follow up after an interview is a mistake that no interviewee has room to make and can make or break a career opportunity. Employers take time out of their schedule to interview you and it is necessary they know you are respectful of their time and consideration. Following up is easy and requires minimal time, so be sure to actively do so to protect your professional reputation and keep you in the running for your dream job!

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