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Don’t Make these Interview Errors – Part 3

How to avoid common job interview errors

I have had applicants come to interviews that were really, really nervous. I am talking about red spots in the neck, sweaty hands, and shaking leg syndrome. Usually, I was able to calm them down, and more often than not the interview turned out great. I get it. There is a lot riding on it, and nerves can get in the way but together, we will make it work. But you have got to avoid more lethal interview errors. I can’t fix you not caring. If you come into the room and your behavior shows you are not interested, I can tell you I can lose interest too, and very quickly.

In our previous blog, we talked about the common interview errors to avoid when you’re already in the room. Today, we are going to add to that list a few more topics we recruiters see happening at the table. And they are so, so easy to avoid. Read them and learn, my friends.

1. Not paying attention

When you’re in the interview, there should only be three things you are focused on. First, the interviewer. Second, the question. And third, your answer. There shouldn’t be anything distracting you from the task at hand. Nothing, save a disaster, a purple unicorn, or your car catching fire, should deter your eyes away from the interviewer.

Your answers will be better and your responses stronger if you focus your attention on the interviewer. You can pick up subtle cues and determine the area that is important to the interviewer. The fifth question about your type of leadership in a project may show that this is important. When you are focused, you will be in a better place to pick this up.

But it’s a thin line. Don’t make it a staring contest and relax.

2. Don’t ramble

This is tricky. We have a habit of trying to fill moments of silence. When you are nervous, there’s a risk that you will start rambling, and even worse, over-share.

Don’t be afraid to let moments of silence happen and resist the urge to fill them. If the interviewer asked a question and you answered it with more than a single-word answer and a silence follows, let that happen. Either the interviewer is thinking about your answer or the next question, or the interviewer is testing you to see what happens.

When you ramble, you risk over-sharing. Be careful with that. Make sure you only answer the question they ask you and be mindful of not filling in blanks or sharing things that may get you in trouble.

3. Being too negative about previous employers

While everybody understands that no job is perfect and managers have flaws, it is an awful thing to badmouth your previous employer in your interview. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

First of all, nobody likes a complainer. Even where it would be clear and understandable to complain, recruiters don’t like you being negative. Subconsciously they may think, “that may be about us, 5 years down the line.”

Second, it only shows one side of the story. If things were as bad as you say, what did you do? Is there a pattern of bad choices and poor companies? Would people say similar things about you? Rather, focus on the positives, and display what you have learned and what you appreciated.

Last, it’s a small world. Your recruiter may know more about the company and may have more context. Even if that context is incorrect, it taints your answer. In addition, what if your recruiter knows people there? The best way of not getting backed into a corner is by staying away from it.

4. Going in heavy on compensation and benefits

Money is important. Getting the right level and type of benefits is crucial too. And you want to make sure you get a nice, rewarding bonus for the hard work you put in. But there is a time and place to discuss this, and the first interview certainly isn’t one. Even when you’re later in the process, don’t discuss this in the interview when the hiring manager is present. If they ask, answer, and answer honestly, but don’t start this discussion.

Allow for the HR team to ask these questions, if they haven’t done so already. You are in there to show how well you fit the team and how perfectly you fit their needs. The compensation – although important for you and anyone – is not part of that storyline yet.

5. Telling the employer what you think they want to hear

Faux pas number five. It is tempting to give answers you think the interviewer wants to hear, but it’s a serious mistake. Two of the biggest ones are. First, you don’t know what the interviewer thinks, and second; it is not genuine and authentic.

Stay true to yourself, to your experience and your background. If you deviate and make things bigger and other things smaller, chances are they are going to find out in due time. And that can lead them to think you are not honest.

Smart recruiters also test. The question, “how are things going”, maybe a genuine question to ask about your business, but they may also be checking to see if you are too busy to take on this project. If you answer honestly, you don’t have to remember what you said, because the truth is easier to remember than a story. Remember, with today’s automation, the hiring team can look back and double-check your answers to questions. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you have to explain yourself.

About us

AskAway is disrupting the way recruitment is done, by eliminating the need to plan and schedule time-consuming meetings in packed agendas and by offering tools to record or even prerecord interviews. This allows you and your hiring team the opportunity to share and analyze the candidates for your interviews when it suits you. We pre-screen so you don’t have to.

Contact us to find out more, or sign up for a no-strings attached free demo of our tool here.

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