What are the Most Common Job Interview Mistakes?
Job interviews, in general, can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming. Tech interviews can be even more stressful because you are not sure how to best showcase your professional achievements to someone who may not be technically knowledgeable. However, if your LinkedIn and online portfolio are up-to-date, and you are comfortable with your skills and experience, then you are halfway there.
Today, we’re going to share a few common-sense interview dos and don’ts and provide insights that will help improve your interviewing skills and ultimately give you a better chance of landing the job. With appropriate preparation, and the right mindset you will be able to ace that interview. Even if it is not the job you envisioned, you will be even more prepared to excel in the interview for the job of your dreams. Follow these Interview Bootcamp insights and experience improved results!
Tips for a Successful Interview
Pre-Interview: How Prepared Are You?
Interviewers like to believe you are genuinely interested in the job so they look for signs that show you have taken the time to understand the company mission, the job’s requirements, and why you feel you are the best person for the job. Natural enthusiasm coupled with previously researched intel will go a long way.
Before going on the next interview, ask yourself if you have prepared enough to go head-to-head with the interviewer with some level of specificity about the company. You don’t need to know everything, but enough to show you have done your homework and are able to ask intelligent questions.
Research in advance:
- What is the company’s mission and how you can contribute? How long has the company been in business? Is it a corporation or privately-owned enterprise?
- Did you research the company on LinkedIn, Google, and industry trades? Can you see where the company has been and where it is headed? Go the distance and learn about the company’s industry, its top concerns, customer trends, and its current analytics.
- Will the interview be with HR or with the person for whom you will be working? Will the interview be with one person or a team? Will you get a tour of the company’s premises to get a feel for the environment?
- Have you familiarized yourself with the interviewer and future team members? Social media will reveal information that can be used to discuss common interests; this information can be used as interview ice-breakers which will quickly help build rapport.
This level of preparation is appreciated and expected when interviewing candidates; it also provides a more relaxed and informative interview as both parties are on more common ground.
Pay Attention: Everyone is Watching
There is a misconception that the only person that counts is the interviewer, but that is completely inaccurate. So many technical job seekers forget the importance of making a great impression, not just to the interviewer, but to everyone who might be milling around in the lobby, plus the receptionist. If a candidate walks in and ignores others that may be around, it is noticed and more likely than not discussed with the person who is doing the hiring. This simple checklist can be used to take advantage of the pre-interview time while on the premises:
- Walk in with a posture that exudes confidence. Did you know that body language conveys around 93 percent of all communication? The non-verbal aspects of a person’s demeanor will reveal underlying emotions, self-confidence or lack thereof, personal feelings, and more. So if you are sitting with slouched shoulders, looking down to avoid interacting with anyone, those around will take notice.
- Dress for success. Sure that may sound trite, but would you hire someone that does not look like they have a high level of self-respect? Sloppy dress, unkempt hair, and a lack of personal hygiene may seem like a badge of tech honor to you, but take note… it IS NOT. Dressing appropriately shows respect for the interview, the company, and yourself.
- Put your cell phone away. Talking on the phone or fidgeting with your cell phone while waiting, does not convey enthusiasm or interest. Turn it off, or put it on vibrate. If there is some level of emergency, ask to be excused for a moment and take it outside… and that is only acceptable if there is a valid emergency. That goes double during the interview – no visible cell phone.
- Make eye contact and smile. This applies to the time spent in the waiting room as well as during the interview. Make no mistake, everyone you see will walk away with an impression of you whether you speak with them or not… and they will share those impressions.
During the Interview: Find a Balance
Neither talking too much nor talking too little sets the right tone for an interview. Nervous chatter and rambling is awkward for both parties and tends to distract the interviewer from gleaning the information they seek. On the other hand, one word or very short answers don’t give the interviewer much to go on.
Interviewers want to get a feel for your personality and breadth of experience in an easy-going, balanced interview where the conversation reveals interesting tidbits about each of you, the job, and the company.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- Speaking in tech jargon with someone who is clearly not tech-oriented. Demonstrate that you can clearly communicate your overall methods/results/experience in language that a layman would understand.
- Badmouthing your previous employer is a red flag that shows disrespect and a lack of loyalty for employers with whom you work. Resist the temptation even if it seems as though the interviewer may understand.
- Do not ask about benefits and salary prematurely. It is one thing to research the parameters in advance of applying for the job or accepting the interview, it is another to discuss “what’s in it for you” at the onset of the interview.
- Proactively selling yourself is a plus, overselling is a minus as it translates into a sign of desperation and weakness. You do not want to harp on your skills and assets, but rather how your skills and assets will benefit the company and its goals.
- Being too eager to get the job without discerning whether it is the right fit for you and the company is not recommended. It’s been our experience that many tech candidates would rather take the first offer they get than have to keep interviewing. (Note: Those that job-hop too frequently are likely to get dinged for lack of longevity when seeking new employment.)
After the Interview: The Reminder
Sure, it may sound old-fashioned, but sending a follow-up note after an interview is a great idea for a few reasons. First, it allows you to continue the conversation in a professional way and ask any additional questions. Secondly, it provides another opportunity for you to sell yourself. Lastly, it is a polite gesture to thank the interviewer for taking the time to discuss the job’s requirements and review your qualifications. Keep it short and sweet.
The follow-up note should be sent within about 24-hours after the interview and it does not have to be in the form of a hard-copy note via the postal service. A text message or email follow up is perfectly fine.
Remember, whether the interview lands the job offer or not, you will get better at the interview process. Plus, you will make connections with new people in different industries that may be in a position to help you in the future. Our Recruitment Solutions help candidates find their dream job. If you are looking to switch or find your ideal job, our team can help.
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