Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job

Erin Kennedy

Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job

No one particularly enjoys job interviews. They can be intimidating no matter what level you are in your field. There’s a lot of pressure involved, as you’re faced with yet another situation where you have to make a positive impression on a prospective employer—with the added complication of having to speak practically on the fly. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to say the wrong thing under this situation. Here are some of the most common interview mistakes we’ve come across and how you can avoid them.

Trashing Your Former Employer

It doesn’t matter if your last boss was the Wicked Witch of the Workforce, don’t say anything negative about your former employer. Instead of saying that you left your last job to get away from your boss that micromanages like it’s going out of style, say that you are looking for an employer that wants to utilize your talents and allow you to truly contribute to the company. Instead of saying what you hated about your last employer, focus on what you love about the employer that you are interviewing with.

Revealing Too Much About Your Location

Remote work is growing in today’s business climate, but some companies and industries still require employees to report to the corporate office, at least sometime each week or month. As such, they are looking for someone who lives close to the company. Someone who lives too far away from headquarters to commute a reasonable distance or needs time to move across the country may not get chosen over the other candidates. It’s never worth it to lie on your resume about where you live just so you can land a certain position, nor is it worth it to try to haggle your way into a job by admitting you live too far away but your skills are so valuable they should tweak the position’s requirements just for you. Employers can see your location on your executive LinkedIn profile, anyway. 

Lack of Post-Interview Communication

Your correspondence with the interviewer doesn’t end once the interview is over, even if you don’t get the job. It’s important to consider the time the company has already invested in you, and respond accordingly. Be sure to send a formal word of thanks to your prospective employer for the time they’ve spent on the hiring process, if only for the sake of maintaining a good impression. We know you’re probably extremely busy, but you’ll want to take the time to sit down and follow up with the company after you interview. Failing to give your thanks may leave a bad taste in an employer’s mouth, giving them pause as to whether to keep in further touch with you. As you may know, people in your industry talk, and that bad taste may spread to other executives and companies in your field. Your efforts will be appreciated, even if you don’t land the job! The company may keep you in mind when it comes to other openings, or pass your information along to another company who could use someone with your credentials.

Excessive Jargon

Some jargon is just going to be part of daily business conversation. However, you shouldn’t use so much industry speak that those around you will need a dictionary to figure out what you’re talking about! There’s such a thing as too much specialized language, even among people in your industry. While your coworkers may be able to understand what you’re saying, it’s possible that your interviewer works in another area in the company (like human resources) and isn’t as fluent. You can come across as arrogant or cocky by using industry lingo and give a negative impression to the interviewer. It can also be distracting to those interviewing, and they can miss out on identifying the value you are trying to demonstrate.

Speaking Without Listening

Interviews reveal a lot about a potential candidate, more than just the answers to the specific questions. The interviewer is trying to determine how someone responds in various situations so they are closely observing you. If you are rehearsing your “hire me” job spiel in your head, waiting for the chance to present it, then you aren’t going to be hearing the questions they ask. You’ll be answering the questions you think they will ask — and that is not the same thing at all. Speaking without listening is a red flag because it indicates that since you don’t listen here, in the job interview, you won’t listen later, on the job. It is a good preparation tactic to think through questions that may be asked in an interview. But that’s not a script you are rehearsing, and the interview may not involve those questions at all. It’s better to make sure you actually hear what is being asked so you can answer the question.

It is a fantastic feeling when you know that a company likes the sound of you enough to invite you to an interview, and now is the time to really showcase yourself. As you spend time preparing for the interview, keep in mind these things to avoid to present yourself as the best candidate for the position.

About The Author

Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes "Top 100 Career Websites", and she is consistently listed as a “Top Career Expert to Follow” on Twitter. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of 16 best-selling career books. She and her team of talented, certified writers have achieved international recognition following yearly nominations of the prestigious T.O.R.I. Award (Toast of the Resume Industry). She is also one of only a few professionals worldwide to achieve the coveted “Certified Master Resume Writer” distinction.


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