Which Common Interview Mistakes Catch Job Seekers Most?

Posted: 07/31/14 | Category: Interviewing

Last week, we dissected some of the most common interview mistakes that employers see from job seekers. These mistakes, compiled from a Careerbuilder survey of over 2,200 managers, ran the gamut:

• Candidates appeared disinterested
• Candidates dressed inappropriately
• Candidates appeared arrogant
• Candidates negatively spoke about present & past employers

They appear simple enough, but ask any employer and you’ll hear enough horror stories to make it clear that no advice should ever be left unsaid.

49 percent of managers thought people answering calls or texting during an interview was one of the most common interview mistakes. The solution?

We’ll keep this one short.

It’s hard to believe, but some people cannot shut out their smart phones. If you can, you already have an advantage to those who can’t delay gratifying their curiosity.

If not, shut down the phone, remove the battery, leave it in the car, or do whatever else is necessary to quell your urge. There’s no reason to get caught up by this mistake.

39 percent of managers thought candidates were uninformed about the company or role. The solution?

Research heavily – The company’s About Us page should never be your stopping point. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, official press releases, company blogs, and any online article referencing the company (set your Google search to News) can give you a complete picture. Reach out to former or current employees. Commit to memory any information you can.

Ask questions about the company’s future – You’re given the floor to ask questions and you already know elementary info about the company. It’s time to learn about what you won’t find online: the company’s future. Ask these questions “Where will my position be in five years?” “What is the company’s plan for next year? The next five years? The next ten years?” “What problem do you anticipate to be your greatest obstacle?” Then, explain what you can do to help achieve those future goals.

33 percent of managers found candidates had failed to provide specific examples. The solution?

Know your answers in advance – No precognition is necessary. Most interview questions aren’t built to break the mold. We’ve found there are 12 questions you’ll hear in every interview. It’s good to have qualifying answers and anecdotes at the ready, even if you ultimately aren’t asked.

Connect with their needs – Giving specific examples isn’t enough. Each response needs to be customized for the company. It’s no different than spamming out resumes: you don’t do it if you want to get the best results.

17 percent of managers found candidates provided too much personal information. The solution?

Be remembered for the right reasons – The guy who went on a political tirade? He’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Even if there is an opening to discuss a hot button topic (i.e. politics, religions, current events, etc.), hold your tongue and keep up your chances of actually getting the job.

Keep personal things short and sweet – Some hiring managers want to know there’s more to you than your job. Even if they want to see your human side, there is a line which shouldn’t be crossed. The rule of thumb for these scenarios is to stick to synopsis length. Imagine that you’re a published author who needs to write a brief bio for the book jacket. Condense your life down into the big moments and don’t delve into any of the details.

by James Walsh

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