Published 31 October, 2020

Top 13 Mistakes Candidates Make During Interviews (4 minutes read)

To err is human and to forgive divine, we all have heard that. Human beings are bound to make mistakes and our job is to forgive. But, an interview for a job is not the right place, where this applies. Don’t think the recruiters would forgive you, if you make some basic mistakes, which are easily avoidable  if you are well prepared for the interview. These are very important as It might cost you an opportunity of a lifetime and may make or break your career.

So, before going for an interview one should keep in mind the following basic mistakes which we do and try their best to avoid them.

1. Reaching late for the interview

If you are late for an interview, then the first impression you create is that you are not punctual and don’t value time. It will imply that you will be late for your job also, as you are not on time for the interview which is very crucial and important.

Secondly, since candidates often have many rounds of interviews scheduled with different people back to back, it might disturb the entire schedule. It could happen that either your first round of interview is cut short or you disrupt the schedules of the other interviewers who are scheduled to meet you after the first round. These situations are not good for you, since it either short changes your time with an interviewer or makes multiple people grumpy.

2. Unpolished appearance

Always remember that “First impression is the last impression”. So, looking good and well dressed means that are from a decent background and you care about the interview and the job, and you are very serious about it.

 However, many a times people show up at interviews appearing rumpled, wrinkled, stained and wearing clothes that don’t quite fit. Mind it that It’s not a fashion show, so it is important to carefully select your outfit, brush your hair and have a look in the mirror before you reach the venue. You need to take yourself seriously so that the employer takes you seriously.

3. Not carrying a CV or resume

Although, the hiring manager would normally be ready with your resume, but they are busy and not all the time very organized, so you should always have a copy for each person you expect to meet with, plus some extras in case you have unexpected interviews. Not only is it practically very helpful, it also reflects that you are thoroughly prepared for the interview.

4. Not Doing Your Homework

If you show up in an interview without a fundamental understanding about the company what it does, then it’s hard to gauge your interest in the job seriously. Why should an employer trust you with important work when you are not bothered to learn about the business?

You must spend some time on the internet absorbing all you can about your potential employer. If it’s a larger firm, read press releases to get an understanding of some of the major events from the recent past and find ways to ask about those events in the interview. If it’s a public company, you need go to visit sites like Yahoo Finance and read what analysts say about the enterprise. Do a research about the company’s competitors and be ready to ask how the organization differentiates itself from the rest of the market.

These small things show your level of interest in the job, which will impress the interviewer all the time.

5. Looking low on energy

This one is hard to define but is an interview killer. Slumped shoulders, lack of eye contact, slowness to respond to questions and a general lack of enthusiasm for the company or role. If you don’t clearly want the job, it’s near impossible to persuade someone to give it to you.

6. Seeming as unprepared

Not demonstrating a basic knowledge of the role or not providing clear examples of your past performance makes it seem like you just rolled in after only glancing at the company’s website. Interviewers tend to ask the same fundamental questions about your background, skills, interest in the company and why you think it’s a good fit. At least, read about the company and prepare a few anecdotes about the projects you have completed successfully.

7. Incorrect body Language

Body language sometimes speaks louder than words.You can say that you are confident, hard-working and passionate, but what is your body saying? If you’re slouching and speaking in whispers, it’s saying “I’m lying through my teeth!”

Sit up straight, with shoulders straight but relaxed. Make sure you are not spreading your legs too much, but you are also not crouching. Eye contact is essential. It shows a candidate is trustworthy. Always look straight at the interviewer when you are answering a question and maintain eye contact throughout. Use hands to convey a message. - Keep your palms open or touch your fingertips as you speak. Make sure your hands are in sync with what you are saying. You’re never truly dressed if you are without a smile. You want to radiate positivity, so keep a warm smile throughout the interview. It makes you look more approachable and friendly.

8. Not being specific 

You might have heard that you must include metrics in your resume to illustrate achievements. For example, it’s not good enough to say, “Improved invoice handling process.” Instead, you may say, “Reduced invoice handling costs by 12%, saving Rs.50,000.” The same goes for the interview. Be specific.

Numbers in stories make them more believable (but make sure you don’t lie about the numbers). In addition to having metrics at your fingertips, be sure to clearly explain what you did to drive the results. Finally, when appropriate, acknowledge that you were part of a team and give your colleagues the credit they deserve. When someone says, “I did this” and “I did that” over and over, that may come off as an arrogant and perhaps, sends a message that they’re not a team player. Language matters and precise language can communicate things that are hard to convey in a short meeting. Use proper language and articulate in a well manner.

9. Badmouthing Past Employers

Your previous team might have been very unprofessional. They might also be the reason why you quit your job or got fired. However, these are the details you should never share with your interviewer.

If you badmouth your past employer, then the interviewer might think you were the problem instead. They would think that if they select you, the in future you might do the same for them too, when you leave their company. This makes you look very unprofessional, mean and hostile. So, you may not be able to get the job.

10. Not having any questions

Most interviewers keep time at the end to answer any questions asked by the candidates. Normally, they know you’re vetting them too and want to make sure it’s a two-sided conversation. It’s also a bit of a test. The questions you ask often reveal your thoughts and shows  what’s important for you. It also shows that you care enough about the job that’s why you want to know more about the company or the job.

Not having any questions ready signals that you don’t care or haven’t done your homework. If you freeze up, then throw out an old standby question like, “What does success look like in this role?” or “What’s the culture like here in the company?”

11. Asking weirdly personal questions

Asking  relevant questions also need a lot of wisdom, on the part of the candidate. Some candidates get a little too personal with their questions. I’ve heard people asking an interviewer  about his family, previous companies he worked for and why he chose to leave one company for the other. This line of questioning might make the hiring manager feel uncomfortable and also doesn’t create an intelligent and mature impression about you.

12. Forgetting to follow up

Many people forget this basic rule of interviewing i.e. to follow up within 24 hours through an email or message to thank the interviewer for their time and underscore your interest in the position. If you don’t do it, hiring managers might think you’re not interested or organized and they may simply forget about you.

13. Following up too aggressively

While it’s important to follow up, but you have to keep in mind that  you should not send multiple emails or call an interviewer number of times. It’s extremely awkward to receive a call out of the blue from someone demanding to know why they haven’t heard from you. Send your follow-up email or message and then move on with your life. Expecting anything more is probably too much.

Hope these points have left you more informed about how to maximize your chances in an interview. Happy job hunting !

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