Thursday, March 11, 2010

10 Common Avoidable Mistakes During an Interview (By Samreena)

No matter how good you look on paper, everything you do­ from how you treat each member of the interview team, to what you’re wearing, to what you say or don’t say during the interview is noted, and taken into account in the hiring decision.

A big part of a successful interview is avoiding simple mistakes. Mistakes are deadly to the job seeker and easy to avoid if you are prepared.

Here are ten of the most common mistakes people make during job interviews:

Arriving Late. One of the worst job interview mistakes is to not be on time for the interview. Collect all the necessary details beforehand to ensure that you arrive on time. Get directions from the interviewer or a map. Leave home early. If you cannot make it on time, call the interviewer, and arrange to reschedule.

Not Being Prepared. There is no excuse with today’s technology to go into an interview without doing basic research on the company interviewing you, their executives, products, customers, and competitors.
You also should prepare answers on the most common interview questions such as, “What are you strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in ten years? What can you bring to the company that nobody else can? What brought you to this part of your career?” You will be more than likely asked these questions.

Dressing Inappropriately. When hiring managers were asked to name the most common and damaging interview mistakes a candidate can make, 51% listed dressing inappropriately. You make your greatest impact on the interviewer in the first 10-17 seconds, an impression you want to make powerfully positive. It’s therefore important to carefully consider what you should wear to impress your interviewer.

Talking too much and saying too little. There is a misconception that the length of your response to an interview question is as important as the quality of your answer. The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. Answering to a simple question with a fifteen-minute reply can be avoided if you practiced what you want to communicate. Good answers are succinct, to the point and focused when demonstrating your knowledge, expertise, and value. The best way to do this is to prepare and practice your interview answers beforehand.

Being too modest. Don’t be afraid to talk up everything that you’ve accomplished, whether in school or in previous companies. This is your time to shine. It’s really hard to communicate with someone who answers a question with a word or two.

Speaking Negatively About Previous Employers. Your previous boss was an idiot? Everyone in the company was a jerk? You hated your job and couldn’t wait to leave? Even if it’s completely true, you don’t want to be labeled a troublemaker or someone who isn’t a team player and you do not want to look like a complainer. You also don’t want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren’t the best. Complaining about former employers and colleagues creates a negative impression. Focus on the positive - that you are looking for opportunities to grow professionally and be a part of an organization where you can make a difference.

Failing to Ask Questions. Interviewers are unimpressed when they ask the candidate if they have any questions and the candidate does not! Prepare at least 3 or 4 questions in advance to ask the interviewer. Interviews are an exchange of information, and having no questions indicates that you are not sufficiently interested and have not thought much about the position.

Not Displaying a Positive Attitude. This is your first and sometimes only chance to showcase your personality. Managers want to hire people who are enthusiastic. Put a positive spin on the situation and your job search. This is particularly important for people who have been in the job hunt for a long time or who left their past employers under strained circumstances. Show your enthusiasm for both the job and the opportunity to interview for it. And don’t forget to thank the person at the end of the interview!

Asking about Salary too early. Don’t ask about salary at a job interview. Wait for the interviewer to bring up these issues. The interviewer will inevitably tell you what salary and benefits come with the job. There are so many people looking for jobs, so if the company sees you as someone who just wants the money and does not necessarily care about the job, it will work against you in the long run.

Allowing Distractions. While you will probably be nervous prior to and during your job interview, try not to fidget. Think about what you are doing with your hands to keep them under control. Fiddling with your clothing, your notebook, your hair, tapping your pen, etc are all distracting and irritating. No employer wants a fidgety co-worker in the building.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that sometimes you can be shortlisted for an Interview even if you do not fulfill the complete requirements in the Job Description. It is strongly recommended to prepare for the prerequisite. Thanks to Internet and sites like Wikipedia, there are lots of information available for candidates. I can assure you that preparation will make you feel more confident and it will lead to better presentation and body language.

Best of Luck! 

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