It can be impossible to avoid an occasional misstep, yet there are some key mistakes candidates make in job interviews that are entirely avoidable.
Here are 4 common ones that will NOT impress your interviewer:
Dressing Too Casually
One mistake people make is dressing too casually. While being more casual at work is on the rise, on job interview day, it’s important to take things up a notch!
Your wardrobe choice makes a big statement before you ever say a word. So, make sure that statement is an extension of the confident, competent, capable professional that you are.
Ask your contact what employees typically wear at this company, then dress for what makes sense for the job level and the position that you're interviewing for. Do your research and take it up a notch, show the effort, show you care, and present your best self.
Throwing Shade on Your Employer
Another big job interview mistake is talking negatively about your former or current employer. No matter how miserable or disgruntled you may be, don’t throw them under the bus by mentioning your frustration or your melancholy about your situation.
That is a big red flag to a potential employer. First, they may think that you’ll bring that negativity into their work environment. And then they may conclude that you'll throw them under the bus as well.
So, hold back. Instead, save that talk and vent to understanding friends and relatives.
Focusing on Yourself Instead of the Company
This job interview mistake is common when you get to the “Why do you want to work here?” question. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on the perks of the job, such as a short commute, generous pay, regular sabbaticals, or taking your dog to work with you.
Rather, home in on the priorities of the position and how you’re the best candidate to fulfill them. Talk about what you can do to progress their company goals, the problem that you can solve, and what excites you about the role itself.
Don’t risk being perceived as self-serving in the interview stage. Talk about the perks later, when you’re offered the job.
Not Saying You're Interested in the Job
The next violation is not expressing interest in the job out loud. Just like words of affirmation in a romantic relationship, an employer wants to hear that you’re interested.
You may think, “Hey, I'm sitting here in the job interview, I applied for the job, I got the interview, I'm in the interview, of course I'm interested in the job.”
Don’t assume the employer knows you’re interested. Say why you’re excited and reinforce that you want the job and why. For example:
“I want this position because I’m deeply knowledgeable about your product, thrive in a startup environment, and have a broad network I could quickly access to grow your business. I’d like to be your next regional sales director.”
This will reassure your interviewer that you’re serious about the role and someone they’d want to invest some more time with.
So next time you interview, put thought and effort into your outfit, keep negative talk about your employer to yourself, focus on the company and remember to ask for the job! All will go a long way to presenting your best and positioned for an offer.
I’m Dalena Bradley, job interview and career marketing coach dedicated to helping you communicate your value, stand out from the competition, and win the job! Contact me to discuss how we can collaborate.