Securing an interview from a pool of applicants is no mean feat and should be considered a major victory. An interview presents the opportunity needed to sell yourself and your accomplishments. It is a nerve-wracking exercise as you want to market yourself in the best way possible and not come out too aggressive for fear of sounding arrogant. Unfortunately, most people sabotage themselves wasting all the time and effort used in the application process. Below are some common mistakes most interviewees make and how to avoid them;
- Failing to prepare
Never rely on luck to successfully pass an interview. Your preparation or lack of it shows early on in the interview process. Before attending any interview prepare adequately as it indicates your interest in the job. Some tips to help prepare to include; research the company profile, pre-visit employer’s location to have an idea of commute time needed, analyse the job description and prepare your accomplishments, research on target salary and negotiation points among many others. Remember, the interview is not a formality but an audition to showcase your work ethic, skills, and expertise.
2. Lying on your CV
A CV is a significant document in the hiring process as it presents the best opportunity to make a great first impression. How long that impression lasts depends on how truthful you were in the CV. It is very tempting to stretch the truth in the CV with most jobseekers overstating their salaries, work responsibilities, skills, work, and education achievements. It is advisable to be honest in your CV as lies will in most cases be detected during the pre-screening process. The repercussions range from damaged reputation, Fines especially for individuals in professional bodies, termination, and even jail time.
3. Inappropriate Behavior
This includes a wide range of bad and unacceptable behaviour such as being rude to the receptionist, security, and other junior staff, chewing gum or, using your phone during the interview process, carrying food or beverage to the interview room, Flirting with the hopes of being favoured and many more. Mind your manners from the moment you enter the interview premises, be polite, and put your best foot forward.
4. Being Informal
Unless an interview has been communicated to be an informal conversation, always prepare for a formal one. The interview attire, hair, makeup, and accessories should not attract special attention but instead, present a positive image to the employer. Interviewers also pick up non-verbal cues from the interviewee’s body language hence a need to work on one’s posture, gesture, movement, and facial expression. Maintain eye contact as a sign of confidence and honesty. Shake hands firmly, pay attention, and remember to sit upright to indicate attentiveness and eagerness.
5. Sharing too much information
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Too much information during an interview might lead to talking yourself out of a job. An interview room is no place to talk about your recent breakup, medical condition, struggles, nanny problems, family crisis, court case, current employer…. Well, you get the idea. Avoid disclosing confidential information so as not to give the interviewer a bad impression or simply a reason not to hire you.
6. One-way communication
Do not go to an interview with the sole purpose of selling your skills and expertise. Have your own lists of questions and ask at the right time or when given a chance. This helps create a rapport, understand the job, people, and employer more as well an enable you to gauge whether the employer matches your career goals. Remember you are also interviewing your employer.
7. Badmouthing past employers
In most interviews, why your left your previous workplace question always comes up. Do not make the mistake of badmouthing a previous employer, boss, supervisor, or colleague. Your industry might be smaller than you think or somehow interconnected. In most cases, badmouthing past employers or coworkers during an interview creates negative vibes, indicates unresolved issues, unprofessionalism, and lack of emotional intelligence.
8. Making it all about you
Avoid making the interview process all about you. Instead, sell your value to the company. Show the interview panel how the company stands to gain by hiring you, Be sure to communicate your achievements in a way that they relate to this specific company and the role you are being interviewed for.
9. Failure to inquire about the next steps in the hiring process.
Different companies have different hiring processes. Do not leave the interview room without an idea of the next steps and the contact person. This often indicates how quickly the company wants to fill the role and how interested they are to onboard you. Most employers freely share this information but if not always be sure to ask. This info also helps in the follow-up process.
10. Lack of follow up
The interview process does not end after you step out of the interview room. Follow up is also part of the interview and should not be ignored. Sending a thankyou note to the contact provided is polite and somewhat strategic.
Depending on the hiring process and timelines communicated during the interview, At the right time, reach out politely to track and be informed about what is happening on the employer’s side. This also helps you understand when to cross a job off your list and move on to the next opportunity.
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