7 Job Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Stressed woman in officeThe job interview is the most critical step in the job search process.   Avoid these potential disasters and you are one stop closer to getting your dream job.

There are definitely things that you can do to avoid minor mishaps which could ultimately blow an interview. Become familiar with these 7 potential interview disasters so you can prevent them from obstructing your path to that ideal job.

1. DON’T ARRIVE LATE
Showing up late is both rude and inconsiderate. Is this the first impression that you want to leave with a potential employer? Map out your route and try it out before the interview. Plan on being at least half an hour early to your appointment. This will provide a buffer to protect against wrong turns, traffic jams and all the other mishaps that may befall you. If you arrive early, you can use the time to calm your nerves.

2. DON’T SAY THE WRONG NAME
Many a nervous candidate has been known to accidentally call the interviewer the wrong name. In order to avoid this  find out who you will be speaking to before the interview. Memorize the name(s). If this information is not available prior to the meeting, then write the person’s name on your notepad as soon as you sit down for the interview. If you do slip-up, do not make a huge fuss. Apologize quickly (and sincerely) and move on.

3. DON’T SAY THE WRONG THING
Choose your words carefully. Avoid impulsive answers; the first thing that pops into your head may not be the best response. Remember, it’s ok to pause if you need some time to think. Feel free to say “that’s a good question; let me take a moment to think about it.” This demonstrates that you think before you speak. Is your everyday speech peppered with expletives or other potentially offensive phrases? If so, take care to avoid these during your meeting.

4. DON’T BECOME SPEECHLESS
Interviews are stressful situations for even the most qualified candidates. This tension can lead to candidates “freezing up” during the meeting. Alleviate some of the expected stress by practicing mock interview questions. Have a friend conduct simulated interviews. If possible, have him/her conduct the interview in a variety of manners including reserved, rushed, and disinterested. This way you will be better prepared for whatever the interview may bring.

5. MONITOR YOUR INTERNAL SYSTEM
Nature has a funny way of acting up at the wrong moments. Fortunately, you can help prevent these unwanted incidents. Avoid the awkwardness of a growling stomach by eating a few hours before the interview. Be careful in what you eat and drink in the 24 hours prior to the interview. Do not overindulge; an upset stomach or hangover is formidable distraction.

6. DON’T BE TOO MODEST
The interview is no place for humbleness. Too much modesty can make you appear introverted or lacking confidence. Don’t be afraid to be your own cheerleader. Prior to the interview, make a list of your accomplishments both personally and professionally; practice talking about them. Have a friend listen to your answers as you practice. This will help prevent you from crossing the line between justifiable pride and boasting.

7. DON’T LACK ENTHUSIASM
No one wants to work with a stick in the mud. With this in mind, how can you prevent from appearing lukewarm? Smile and maintain eye contact. Sit forward in your chair. Avoid speaking in a monotone. Be positive in your responses.

By preparing yourself against these potential interview disasters you are one step closer to getting the job of your dreams. Remember sometimes it really is the little things that make the difference.

Tell Stories To Ace Behavioral Interview Questions

Businesswoman Interviewing Male Candidate For JobBehavioral interviewing is a common technique in almost every interview you’ll encounter. It’s also the hardest technique to prepare for. Or is it? Find out how you can simply tell stories and ace any interview you walk into.

Behavioral interview questions are certainly not a “new” interviewing technique, however they can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. While you can spend time learning a great “canned” response to questions such as “tell me about yourself” it’s much harder to prepare for questions you don’t know.

Or is it?

The real problem with this interview approach for interviewees is that instead of getting nice predictable questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “Why should I hire you” a behavioral interview question could be anything. In fact, you’ll probably never hear the exact same question twice.

This technique is designed to probe your ability to use experience to answer questions in an open ended fashion. Typically recruiters use your answers to predict your future behavior.

How To Prepare For the Unknown?

If you don’t know what the question is how could you possibly prepare?

I found overall the best way to answer these types of questions is to literally tell a story.

As a recruiter I also enjoy listening to a quick story instead of hearing boring robotic answers, especially because a response like, “Yeah, I can do that.” is not going to impress anyone.

But there is a catch! When you tell a story, it should be relevant, convincing and short.

How do you do that?  Be a STAR that’s how.

STAR is a very popular acronym for constructing answers to behavioral interview questions and it suits our short story method perfectly.

Here’s how it goes:

S = Specific situation

T = Task or target

A = Actions you took

R = Results from your actions.

The format of your stories should include a problem or situation, a task or target you set, the action or activity you took, and the outcome that benefited the company.

Keep your story fast paced and to the point. If it’s interesting you might be asked to elaborate even further.

Getting Specific about questions

Before heading into an interview try to work out what the company might value most, are they are startup and want flexibility, or a large enterprise looking for a specific skill, or a non-for profit that looks for core values.

When you’re asked a question try to come up with an example where you successfully “used” methods that are inline with the company values. Such as I “saved money by doing xy”, or “I developed a new abc”, or “I understood the values and worked on a mutually agreed deal”.

Don’t Go Wandering

When you answer interview questions don’t let your answers wander from topic to topic. Remember to tell your story with STAR in mind.

First, describe the situation, then what task you did, actions you took and your actions accomplished. Stay on topic.

Prove You Can Do it!

Behavioural interview questions are a great way to prove that you are the right person for the job by citing exact examples. While you can’t exactly anticipate a question you can recall stories from your career that demonstrate that you have the skill and competencies necessary to be successful.

3 Job Interview Questions You Must Master

Job-InterviewWe all agree that going for a job interview can be a very nerve racking experience. All you need is confidence going in and you’ll be fine. BUT BUT BUT .. yes there are several buts and here are the answers to 3 of the toughest interview questions you need to master well.

When The Recruiter Asks: “Do You Have Any Questions?” Usually this question is always reserved for last during an interview, and it’s hardly a fluffy, throw away question. It may just seem like the interview is over and they are asking this question as a courtesy.

FORGET ABOUT IT!!

This can be the make it or break it interview question. Point is this .. the interview questions never stop until you actually leave the office!Your answer here will be the last thing they hear from you. You can so easily make it a memorable moment by having a really good question to ask. No self serving questions please, those are killers and reason enough to dismiss your chances. Asking about on going training’ or “‘if hired, I would be very interested in moving to the next level, can you tell me what certifications I would need’ or “‘can you tell me if there is a company policy in place should there be a Pandemic’ “‘ a thinking person asks these type of questions. That’ll be a great impression to leave them with.

If you do proper research on the company first, you’ll come up with great questions to ask them.

When The Recruiter Asks: “What Do You Know About Our Company?”

This is clearly where they get to see if you’ve done your homework. And again, it can make or break your chances for being hired. Remember you got the interview because you were qualified, so here’s your chance to show up prepared, it’ll be your edge over the other guy, remember he’s qualified too.

This is a hiring process, in essence, a competition, go in proactive .. a passive approach to any interview will backfire. Always be assertive, and never ever be aggressive. Qualifications aside, all interview questions / your answers, are in fact deciding your final interview score and you are being scored.

When The Recruiter Asks: “Can You Tell Me About Your Weaknesses?”

Remember, they never really want to hear about a weakness, they do want to hear how well you express yourself and deal with the actual interview question. Your answer always has to end in a solution that can be applied to the job at hand. Here’s a simple and yet great sample I teach all the time. “I used to actually have a problem saying no to people, these days with my time management and setting priorities skill set, I no longer have that problem as my To Do List manages me first, and saying no, is now a non issue”‘. Simple, concise and does in fact mention that you understand time management.

The interview questions and your answers are not hard, they just need prep and solid rehearsing out loud. Out loud because otherwise how will you know how smooth and convincing you are? That in itself will give you that extra confidence you need. Trust me, recruiters can spot confidence and sincerity a mile away. Remember, show them the real you when answering interview questions. Don’t give them template like, cookie cutter answers. Make notes, practice out loud, do more research, ask questions “‘ it all works and will always ensure a high interview score.

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