An interview can be a make-or-break moment in your job search. It’s your chance to show who you are beyond your resume, and to forge a human connection that can help you stand out. But there are some common pitfalls that can tank your success. Here are the top three interview mistakes to avoid.
Not Doing Your Research
One of the big things your interviewer will want to know is why you want that specific job, at that specific company. But you can’t begin to answer that if you haven’t done your research. Before the interview, take some time to learn the basics. You don’t need to know a lot of details, but you should have some idea of what they do, what the role involves, and why you believe it’s a good fit. Company research also helps you identify how you would be an asset to your future employer. What makes you unique and how would you help their company grow and succeed.
Not Preparing Questions
Your research should naturally lead you to topics you want to know more about. Is the company working on some big breakthrough in the industry? If so, ask about that. Does their website focus on their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? Maybe you could ask a question about how employees can get involved. It’s always a smart idea to prepare a list of at least three or four questions in advance.
One of the most common interview questions is, “Why did you leave your last employer?” This might seem like an invitation to unload any negative feelings you had about your previous job. But that would be a huge mistake. Not only is it unprofessional, but employers tend to worry that you might talk trash about them next. Keep the negativity to yourself, and focus on career-related reasons for leaving. For example, you might say that you are ready for a new challenge or want to focus more narrowly on a specific area of interest. Just be sure that the new position actually offers what you say you’re looking for.
Interviewing for a job can be a high-pressure situation, and interview mistakes are common. But with a bit of advance planning, you can avoid these pitfalls and make an excellent first impression. To learn more about what employers are looking for in candidates and new employees, read this quick article.
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