7 mistakes to avoid in your interview

1. You didn’t do your research

You interview with a company to get a job. Hopefully you are excited about the job and the company. If you have not done your research on the company how do you know what you are excited about? Interviewers are people, and people like to talk about themselves. Business professionals also like to talk about their companies. A hiring manager or recruiter is usually proud of where they work which is how they got to the role they are in. If you are in an interview you will be asked questions about the job or the company. Questions like, “how many offices do we have?” Or, “what was our gross revenue last year?” Know the answer.

2. You didn’t interview the interviewer

A job interview is a two way street. There is a reason you research a company you are thinking about working for and there is a reason the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them. You want to make sure the job you applied for is what you thought it was. You also want to make sure the company and its culture is a good fit for you too.

3. You didn’t show up

I mean this literally. I once forgot a notebook at home where I had written down the address of where my interview was supposed to be and who with. The interview was on a multi-building campus occupied by one company. Without this information I couldn’t find where I needed to go and no one could help me. I missed the interview and guess what? I didn’t get the job.

4. You didn’t send the right message

This is a simple message. “I am what you need and I can prove it.” The proof is on your resume and in the stories you tell during the interview. It is what you have accomplished in similar roles to the one you are currently applying for and the measured success of those accomplishments.

5. You didn’t tell them about yourself

When you are asked, “tell me about yourself.” In an interview they are not really asking about you. What the interviewer is asking is, “tell me about how your past professional experience makes you a good candidate for this job.” The only time you would add anything personal into this answer is if you had a unique experience or hobby that taught you a skill or gave you an insight that would make you a better candidate for the job.

6. You didn’t ask good questions

I mentioned earlier that an interview is a two-way street. You need to ask questions to get a better understanding of how your success in the position will be measured and what expectations there may be that the job description didn’t cover. The best way to show you are a good candidate and did your research is not by the answers you give, but by the questions you ask.

7. You didn’t tell them you want the job

Interviewing for a job is just that, an interview. During the interview the interviewer is finding out more about you to assess if you are a good fit for the position. You too are asking questions and learning about the company and the position. It is a fact finding session. Don’t assume your presence is sending any message that you want the job. Once the fact-finding session is over and you like what you heard, tell them you are excited about working there in that role, and ask what the next steps are.


Michael Sanders, W. P. Carey Career Services

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