Knowing what not to do in an interview can make the difference between a job offer and a rejection. Don’t let these three common mistakes torpedo your chances.
Knowing what not to do in an interview can make the difference between a job offer and a rejection. These three common mistakes can torpedo the chances of even the best candidates, but avoiding them will bring you one step closer to a new position. During the interview process, please don’t:
Even what seems like the smallest and most harmless of lies can tarnish your reputation and set you up for failure. For example, if an interviewer asks if you have used a certain type of software, it could be tempting to say that you have, figuring you can always familiarize yourself with it later. This is a horrible idea, however, for a multitude of reasons. For one, there may be follow-up questions that you will have to stutter and stammer over. Even if this does not reveal you as a liar, you will look unprofessional. If it does not ruin your interview and you get the job, when you least expect it, your employer might call upon this particular area of expertise. You will be faced with the same dilemma, disclose your dishonesty or seem incompetent. Either way, you look bad. It is far better to be honest and admit that you are not familiar with that software, but would be willing to learn. Regardless of the position or field, everyone cares about trust and integrity. Once lost, they are hard to get back.
While it is important to follow up with a thank you, you should not inundate your recruiter or interviewer with emails or calls. What may seem like enthusiasm to you will quickly become an annoyance to these very busy people. After your initial thank you note, you can always touch base a week later, if you have not heard anything. Then, you simply need to let it go. If a company wants to hire you, they will contact you without any additional prodding.
When an interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions,” you should always have some prepared. Many managers will gauge your interest level by the questions you ask, so take the time to research the company and formulate a few thought-provoking questions that illustrate you have done your homework and can think critically about the company and your field. While you may not end up asking all of them, it is important to have a few prepared in case one of them comes up organically in the interview and has already been answered. When it comes to the interview process, there is no such thing as having too much information. Not having enough, however, can destroy your chances.
These may seem obvious, but very intelligent, well-qualified candidates make these mistakes all the time. The interview process is stressful and the pressure can be immense, even more so in a tight job market. Trust in yourself and your abilities. If you are prepared and provide carefully thought out answers (and questions) to your interviewer, you will do fine. Most importantly, don’t let these blunders sabotage your success and you will have a new job, perhaps sooner than you think.