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Top 10 Interviewing Mistakes

Posted on 04-01-15 in: Interviewing by Sherri Buckner Seagroves, CSM

The Top 10 Interviewing Mistakes that are preventing you from getting the job are:

1. You don't research the company prior to the interview. You are not prepared with questions to ask the hiring authorities. If you aren't prepared on the first day that you meet your potential employer, what would give them reason to believe that you will be prepared in the future? So what does preparation look like? You've researched your hiring authorities on LinkedIn, you know their backgrounds and their skills. You've researched the company on their website, Yahoo Financial and read their press releases. You have a minimum of 5 INSIGHTFUL questions written down that pertain to the job, the company culture, training and the future of the business. If your questions aren't written down, you don't look prepared.

2. You ask about salary, benefits and time off. If the hiring authority inquires of your salary, simply state "I am currently making $X and I'm confident that you will make a reasonable offer." If the hiring authority doesn't bring up the salary, benefits or time off, then neither do you.

3. You are negative about your current or former employer. I promise you that when you say something negative about your former employer, the hiring authority immediately thinks 'wonder what he'll say about us?' It also deflects ownership of your situation and comes across as blameful of the employer. Practice on reframing your answers so it doesn't shine a negative light on your former employer.

4. You don't seem interested or enthusiastic about interviewing. People want to hire people who WANT to work for them! Our clients often say 'Clearly he can do the job, he has the skills and the experience but he didn't seem excited nor the least bit interested in working for us.' How do you convey your interest? Ask questions! Be prepared with insightful questions (see #1), show genuine enthusiasm and ASK FOR THE JOB!

5. You talk too much or not enough! Your answers should be no more than 2 minutes long. It is rare that a hiring authority will ask a closed-ended question - where you answer 'yes or no.' It is more likely that a hiring authority will ask an open-ended question where you have to answer your question typically by sharing your experience. Practice answering questions that highlight your accomplishments. Make sure your answers are thorough, on topic, 2 minutes in length and don't always start with "I did" or "I accomplished." Make sure to share the spotlight with your team and your supervisor.

6. You are not able to talk fluently about your experience. Make sure to brush up on the projects that you've worked on, the definition of terms, the name of equipment and tools that you've used, the products that you've launched and the names of customers you've served. Make a list and practice before the interview. You don't want to get stuck trying to remember the meaning of 5S or Kaizen while you are sitting in an interview.

7. You become overly familiar with the hiring authority. Even if the hiring authority starts joking around and becomes overly familiar with you, it is not professional to reciprocate. Be polite, but don't cross the line.

8. You are late for the interview. We've had candidates arrive a few minutes late for the interview and the company refused to proceed. Being on time is a sign of professionalism and preparedness. If you are unsure of the location of the interview, get the exact address and drive to the site a few days before.

9. You are unrealistic about your expectations. The most unrealistic expectations center around salary increase and job responsibilities / title. Be realistic about your career climb! An 8% salary increase for a job change is typical, but not much more!

10. You aren't honest. Yes, it's hard to believe in this day and age of Google, that candidates still lie. The truth is out there and it's not hard to find so don't hang yourself by stretching the truth in an interview, on your resume or on an application. Keep in mind that your resume and your application serves as a form of contract. Be honest!