Mistakes To Avoid During Your Interview

Chelsea Lawler

The interview process can bring anxiety and fear to many interviewees, which in turn, can fatally affect an interview. It is natural to be nervous before and during your interview, but it is imperative to avoid interview blunders. We will explore the common mistakes made during the interview process and how you can prevent them from happening to you.

1. The “Dead Fish”

No, I do not mean handing a dead fish to your potential employer! I am talking about the limp, dead handshake you just gave your future employer. Yikes! A handshake and eye contact is what starts the interview, so it is important not to mess it up. It is practically impossible to recover from delivering the “dead fish” or an overaggressive handshake, so you should practice your handshake with a friend. It may seem trivial to do so, however, a poor handshake can show disinterest or weakness. It is the first thing that you do during an interview, therefore, an interviewer will know right away if you are being insincere or overaggressive. Practice your handshake!

2. Rambling On, and On, and On…

I know you are nervous. It is okay. Do not let your nervousness allow you to ramble or fill in awkward silences. Talking too much, or not arriving to your point, will send a negative message that you may be trying to hide something or you cannot formulate your thoughts concisely. Practice answering your questions in a concise manner. Ask a friend or family member to help you. You can do it!

3. Discussing Negative Anecdotes About Past/Current Employers

Bad idea! Do not do it! Speaking negatively about a past or current employer is the quickest way for you to lose a chance at a potential job opportunity. Even if you truly had a horrid experience, or a terrible boss, resist the urge to come clean about them. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss it. It will come across to the interviewer as disrespectful and portray you in a negative spotlight. When speaking about former negative experiences or employers, be sure to practice and prepare a positive answer. Keep it professional!

4. Showing Up Too Late or Too Early

Arriving on time to an interview is key. What if you arrive too early? Or worse, too late? Showing up too early may come across as you are too eager, and arriving too late…you absolutely do NOT want to do that. Showing up late is the easiest way to sabotage an interview. The rule of thumb is to arrive on time, but no more than ten minutes early to an interview.

5. Be Kind to the Receptionist

The receptionist is typically the first person you will see prior to your interview. He/she will most likely usher you into the interview room or you will check in with him/her first. In essence, the receptionist holds the power of portraying you in a positive light, if asked what he/she thought of you. Were you kind to him/her? Treat everyone you meet at your interview site, as if you wanted to be treated! Be positive and thank the receptionist for his/her help.

6. Asking About Salary/Benefits

Salary and benefits are important, especially in this economy. Resist the urge to ask about how much money you will make, or the benefits you will receive, as it is rude to do so. Unless the interviewer broaches the subject, do not bring it up during the first interview. It is important to wait until a second interview, or if you secured the job after the first interview, to discuss such matters.

7. Being Unprepared for the Interview

Nothing quite says, “You ruined the interview.” like arriving unprepared for such an important moment. It is imperative that you conduct your pre-interview research and demonstrate your interest in the company. Come prepared with questions, be concise in your answer, and be genuine.

8. “Umm”, “Like”, or “You Know”

This blunder can be difficult to avoid because you are human, and everyone is guilty of doing this at least once in his or her life. The keys to avoiding the verbal ticks is to breathe and gather your thoughts concisely before you speak. By practicing your interview answers with a family member or friend, you will be able to be successful and relaxed during the actual interview.

9. Too Much/Too Little Eye Contact

Every interview tip states that you NEED to make eye contact. Yes, this is absolutely true. However, there is a line of too much eye contact or too little. Too much eye contact with an interviewer can be too intense or odd. Too little eye contact can make you appear as untruthful or nervous. Find your eye contact balance by working with a friend and receiving feedback.

10. Communication Mix-Ups

It is imperative that you have an understanding of the communication style of your interviewer. Is the interviewer jovial, businesslike, or direct? It is imperative that you mirror the behavior or communication style of the interviewer. You will immediately have an understanding of the individual’s personality, as they will set the tone for the conversation.

You have made it this far in securing the job interview. Congratulations!

Be sure to read the above steps in order to polish your interview techniques prior to the interview. Refining your skill set, polishing your personality, and any quirks can make all of the difference in an interview. Your first impression is key and practicing some of your weaknesses will help your personality shine through. Do not be afraid to ask a relative or friend for help, as practicing your handshake, eye contact, or verbal ticks will be essential in acing the interview. Remember to research the company’s history and background. Do not forget to arrive to the interview on time. Be sure to observe your interviewer’s communication style in order to match to your own. By avoiding these interview blunders, you will come out on top and avoid being the candidate that almost landed the position.

About The Author

Chelsea Lawler

Chelsea Lawler is a recent graduate of Philadelphia University with her Master of Science degree in Fashion Apparel Studies. She graduated from Mount Aloysius College in 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Chelsea enjoys running her small jewelry business for vintage clothing, and traveling. With her writing at Career Igniter, she hopes to educate both students and job seekers on the various facets of the job hunting process.

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