Whether you’re an entry or executive level professional, interview jitters can get the best of you. And when they do, you’re apt to make a mistake. The good news is that if you know about the most common ones ahead of time, you can work toward avoiding them. Here are 6 job interview mistakes to watch out for:
Mistake #1: Walking in without preparation.
Before any interview, you need to do your homework. That means researching the company, the position, and the person who will be interviewing you. Go beyond the company website and look to the news and social media for additional insight. Also, research the competition and read about any industry trends that are impacting the company.
Mistake #2: Sounding scripted.
When it comes to answering interview questions, you want to sound real, not robotic. So while it’s fine (and strongly encouraged) to practice answers ahead of time to common questions, don’t memorize lines. Instead, know the key talking points you want to bring up when answering a particular question. But answer questions in an authentic way, rather than sounding like you’re reading from a script.
Mistake #3: Not asking questions.
An interview is a two-way conversation. The hiring manager is evaluating you, but you also should be evaluating the position and the company. Is the culture a good fit for you? Are you up to the demands of the job? How will success be measured in the role? You won’t know the answers to any of these unless you ask good questions in the interview.
Mistake #4: Bad body language.
Confident body language is one way to stand out in a good way to a hiring manager. However, if you’re stiff, avoid eye contact, tap your feet, or have a habit of twirling your hair, then you have to put an end to bad body language. Try role playing the interview with a family member or friend. It will help you become more aware of your problem areas and also feel more confident and comfortable walking into a job interview.
Mistake #5: Talking money and perks right off the bat.
Of course, you want to know what the job pays and how much vacation time you’d get in it. But these kinds of questions shouldn’t come up in the beginning of an interview unless the hiring manager broaches the topic first. Instead, if you do advance in the hiring process, save questions about salary and compensation for the next round of interviews.
Mistake #6: Unprofessional behavior.
This includes anything from showing up late to the interview to leaving your cell phone on. The bottom line is that you always need to be on your best professional behavior for an interview. That means being prompt, dressing professionally, treating everyone you meet with respect, and turning your phone off during the interview.
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