It’s hard to remain self-aware in an interview there is so much to think about. I, for one, tend to spiral into a “panic mode” and make silly blunders rooted in nerves rather than incompetency. However, if you are aware of the common errors candidates make, you have a better chance of overcoming them on the day.
1. Being longwinded
Don’t go on and on and on. A bit of preparation should aid this common interview mistake. Keep your answers short, and to the point. The danger in long-windedness is that you will not only bore the interviewer, but accidently reveal information that you should have kept to yourself.
2. Where is the ‘I’ in ‘we’?
When asked about an achievement or a project you have worked on, always respond using ‘I’. Yes, you may have been working as part of a team, but this is YOUR moment and the interviewer is interested in what you did specifically. Appreciating collective effort is a great attribute, but in the interview game it is all about you, what you did, and how you exceled.
3. The killer question: “Tell me about yourself”
We have all messed up on this one, and it’s a question you should take extra care preparing for. The interviewer doesn’t want to know where you live, what your favourite colour is or how many siblings you have. They want a brief summary of your employment and training history, your achievements, your future ambitions and how the position will fit in with them.
4. Inappropriate dress
Wear what is relevant for the role. If you are applying for a professional position wear a suit, suit dress, blouse, shirt etc. If it’s a casual role wear something that fits well in with the environment. Just make sure that your shoes are dirt-free, you look clean and you’re wearing a smart coat. It’s surprising how many people turn up to interviews looking scruffy, or like they’re going to the pub.
5. Don’t criticise past employers
Ever heard the expression “it’s who you know?”
Well, it’s amazing how small the world is. Lose your inhibitions for a second and gripe about your ex-employer it could lead to trouble. A lot of big companies have dealings with each other, and especially in smaller cities the boss you’re badmouthing could be your interviewer’s best friend.
A little extra:
Get your facts right! We all embellish the truth sometimes. If you do this then make sure you remember them on the day, equally, be sure you can deliver what you say you can!
If you make any mistakes don’t let on, stay calm and carry on as the rehashed propaganda slogan says. Acing an interview is a skill, and one you will acquire with time and practice.