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Job Interview Skills

Common Interview Mistakes

  • Lack of proper preparation - Failure to gather information on the company and job before the interview makes a very poor impression on recruiters; it suggests that you really are not that interested in the position.
  • Inappropriate personal appearance - Consider the nature of the position sought and dress accordingly. When in doubt, dress somewhat more formally than you think would be expected for the job. Be conservative and be detail oriented (polished shoes, neat hair, non-overpowering cologne or perfume etc.) First impressions are very important.
  • Poor non-verbal communication - In addition to what you are saying, your non-verbal behavior is very important in an interview. Are you making eye contact? Are you listening intently when the interviewer is speaking? Are you giving a firm handshake when you greeted by the interviewer(s). Are you fidgeting during the interview? Practice with a friend or in front of a mirror to assess these factors.
  • Poor attitude - Overbearing or self-centered behavior (i.e. a “what’s in it for me” attitude) is very poorly received by interviewers. Ask yourself what can you contribute to the company. What skills and experience would you bring to the job?
  • Failure to ask questions - Employers will assess your interest in the company and the position by the types of questions you ask. Proper research prior to the interview will help ensure that the questions you ask are intelligent ones.
  • Being disorganized - Make sure you arrive at the interview a few minutes early so that you have time to get composed and check your appearance. Arriving late is simply unacceptable - so plan for the unexpected. Always bring an extra copy of your resume and references to an interview.
  • Exaggerating or being deceitful - Do not exaggerate your experience or skills when answering interview questions. Remember that employers may follow-up on your assertions during reference checks - so, always answer honestly.
  • Excessive anxiety - While interviews tend to induce anxiety in most people, for some it can seriously undermine performance. Employers cannot and will not attribute poor answers entirely to your anxiety. Further, they do not have the benefit of knowing you outside of the interview situation. To decrease interview anxiety, the single best thing you can do is practice. Ask your friends or your family to help.
  • Over or under answering questions - For most interview questions a “Yes” or “No” answer is not appropriate. Provide more detail for an employer and site examples from personal experience wherever possible. Do not, however, talk endlessly and feel that you have to keep speaking if there’s a silence. When you have said what you want to say, stop talking. If you do not understand a question, seek clarification before responding.
  • Failure to send a thank-you note or card following the interview - Take the time to send a thank you card; this small gesture can make a significant impact on an employer. Not only does it demonstrate your sincere interest in the position, but it also helps distinguish you from other interview candidates.


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