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1. 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.
Make sure you visit the company’s website and review it thoroughly. If time allows, request the firm’s marketing literature or investor relations’ packet. Try to find out where it stands in the market and what its concerns may be for the future.
Check out research databases and business publications, and talk to your friends and colleagues to uncover more information.
2. Not knowing yourself
To be an effective interviewee, you must be able to articulate in a clear, concise, and natural manner what you do – and how well you do it.
Make sure you know what sets you apart from other candidates and be specific about what you’ve done that has made you, your department, and former company successful.
Also, know your background without having to refer to your resume. There is no one better than you to tell your story.
3. 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. Try to remember that the person sitting across from you has a full day of interviews and other to-dos.
The way to his or her “hiring heart” is to be concise and to the point when demonstrating your knowledge, expertise, and value.
4. Focusing on the past
The projects you worked on and the duties you performed 10 to 15 years ago bring context to your career and the professional you have become, but the skills and traits you now possess are what will be valuable to your new employer.
Concentrate on your current roles, abilities, and experiences.
5. Not listening
An interviewer will guide you toward what they want to know and what’s important to them – if only you listen!
Sometimes we are so excited or nervous during an interview that we talk without listening. Pay attention to what the other person is saying and make sure to answer all questions fully. If you aren’t sure that you did, ask.
And, try to hone in on nonverbal clues as well as the verbal ones to continually assess your audience.
6. Being too humble
Interviews are the place where you are selling yourself and you must be able to do so effectively.
Find a way to get comfortable with tooting your own horn and discussing what makes you special. This is your opportunity to brag a little.
But, and this is very important, do so without being boastful.
7. Stepping out of ‘sell mode’ too early
We’ve all been in interviews that are going along swimmingly and we think the job offer is in the bag.
So what do we do? We stop selling ourselves and move into buying mode. We ask about salary, vacation, or benefits.
These topics are all appropriate – at the right time, which is when the company is completely sold on you. A lot of opportunities have fallen through because people have stopped selling themselves too early.
Remember, “it’s not over till it’s over!”
8. Low energy or passion
Passion + energy = good impression.
Managers want to hire people who are enthusiastic. It doesn’t matter how boring you think your last job was, you can still be passionate about your work, and you need to get that across in your interviews.
Don’t speak negatively about your former duties, boss, or company. 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.
9. Not being realistic
Sometimes we expect our next job to make up for all the shortcomings of our previous positions: salary, benefits, vacation time, management support, career opportunities… but be realistic – no new opportunity can undo all the wrongs that you may have experienced in your career.
Be realistic about the company, the job, and what will make you happy. Concentrate on the factors that are most important to you and that are under your control. And, don’t make demands that may make you appear unreasonable.
10. Not asking for the job
The interview is winding up and love is in the air. Now it’s time to close the deal.
Don’t fall down and forget to ask for the job.
It’s very appropriate to ask your interviewer how you did and whether he or she needs anything else from you. It’s also the right time to reinforce your interest in the position. Make sure they know of your desire to join the firm.
Companies want to make offers to people who are going to accept them. You will advance your chances if the company knows you are going to say yes.
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