Job interviews are a key part of the hiring process, but successfully navigating through this process can be a real challenge to many job seekers. In this post, Erica L. Fener, PhD, describes the most common mistakes she sees job seekers making when they interview.
5 Mistakes Job Seekers Make in Job Interviews
by Erica L. Fener, PhD
Are you just starting a job search? Or have you been struggling to find a new job and need to identify ways to improve your interviewing techniques? Most people go through a lot of hard work to identify potential positions, prepare a resume, and set up interviews.
The following list includes 5 common mistakes job seekers make in interviews to help you steer clear of them the next time you get that call to come in for an interview.
1. Talking too much
Talking over an interviewer is a mistake that many candidates do not even realize they are making. Typically, talking too much happens because of nervousness. As a result, candidates talk more than the interviewers and, worse yet, do not actively listen. This inability to listen can foul up what might otherwise have been a great interview.
Constantly trying to give the perfect answer and talking non-stop during the process are two ways to unfortunately botch an interview. Instead, make the effort to listen attentively during the interview.
When it’s your turn to talk or answer a question, watch for nonverbal cues, such as the interviewer’s body language, to know when to summarize and stop talking. For example, if she clears her throat or starts fidgeting in her chair, it is time to move on to the next question.
2. Trash talking the previous employer
It may seem like common sense not to say nasty things about a previous or current employer, but interviewees make this mistake frequently. People are often upset about recent on-the-job incidents and feel the need to make their feelings known.
No matter how upset you are about something that happened at work,
trash talking during an interview is never a good idea.
When an interviewer inquires about why a person is leaving a company, he isn’t looking for gripes. Prepare a tactful answer ahead of time that displays maturity and dignity.
3. Not showing enthusiasm
Some people are so worried about coming across as trying too hard or being desperate for the job, often red flags for future employers, that they go too far the other way and come off as unenthusiastic.
Do your research about a company and come to the interview excited and enthusiastic about what the company does and how you can help that mission. While an interview is an opportunity for you to learn about the company as much as it is for them to learn about you, giving the impression that you don’t want a position can quickly take you out of the running.
When interviewers have two candidates with similar credentials, they will pick the one who is warm and enthusiastic every time, over the one who displays lukewarm feelings.
4. Jumping right into salary negotiation
There are two common mistakes that candidates make during job interviews when it comes to salary negotiation. The first mistake is bringing up the topic of money too early. Most interviewers are turned off by candidates who approach the subject themselves, particularly early in the interview. People must earn the right to talk about this topic.
The second mistake is not negotiating at all. People often assume they know how the company will respond to their salary request so they just answer with the salary they believe they will get. Others let their nerves get the better of them and simply give a conservative number to avoid negotiation. Instead, ask open-ended questions such as, “What salary range do you have in mind?” Listen to the response in full before continuing the conversation.
5. Not taking the little details seriously
Some people get caught by the biggest of the 5 mistakes job seekers make in interviews: not taking the little details into consideration. Some of the little details, such as wearing an appropriate outfit and giving a firm handshake upon introduction, can make or break an initial impression. Taking the time to get the little details right completes a stellar interviewing package.
Be on time for the interview and exhibit courteous behavior during the entire process. Don’t forget to follow up with a quick email or card. Avoid sending a form letter and remember to mention a personal connection or a specific detail from the interview.
About the author:
Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy, a leading provider of school-based therapy and early intervention services. At Progressus Therapy, they hire highly qualified candidates and focus on helping them grow professionally to guide them towards rewarding careers.