With the recent up tick in interview activity I have been spending more and more time working with clients on their interviewing skills. Without doubt the lack of practice over the recent months has taken a toll and I am seeing some common threads appear. Any one of these can damage your chances of success.
Before you start the interview remember what got you there, a good resume! Prior to any interview activity, and this includes a telephone screen, take time to review what you have written in your resume and make sure you know what you have said.
Mistake #1– By the time we have arrived at the interview/screen everyone should have practiced their answers to the question “Tell me about yourself” as it is one of the almost guaranteed questions that you are going to face. Making a pitch that is not aimed directly at the needs of the employer is a sure fire method of not getting that tick ‘in the box’. As this is often one of the first questions asked it sets the tone for the interview. Be focused and demonstrate your value.
Mistake #2 – Not answering the question you are asked. Almost all of us feel the need in interviews (and resumes) to tell the listener everything we have ever done at any time and in every circumstance, relevant or not. This is a huge mistake, the interviewer is interested only in what you can do for them and adding irrelevant and useless information only serves to send them to sleep or makes them annoyed. If you are asked for ‘One Example’ provide ‘One Example’, 2 examples do not make you look smarter.
Mistake #3 – Humor or apologies can often backfire in interviews. Trying to use either of these can make you appear weak. This situation often arises when a candidate feels they have a missing piece of experience or qualification. Use other experiences to fill the gap ‘only if you are asked about it and try not to dig yourself a hole that is difficult to get out of. This is definitely an area that requires practice in advance. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to answer to them.
To sum up all these words is simple, be prepared.