10 Common Interview Mistakes And How To Overcome Them

It can be argued the job interview is the most critical step in the hiring process. And while some questions can be tricky, making a great first impression isn't as difficult as it might seem—if you avoid some basic interviewing mistakes.

interview mistakes

1. You Arrive Late Or Early

Arriving late is an obvious no-no (if it looks like you're going to arrive after your appointment time, make sure you call ahead with a good excuse), but arriving early can be just as detrimental. Oftentimes, interviews are scheduled back-to-back, so arriving too early (more than fifteen minutes ahead) can make interviewers feel rushed.

2. You Don't Research The Company Culture

While it's better to err on the side of overdressing for an interview rather than showing up under-dressed, it's ideal if you look into how the company runs before you show up. This helps determine whether you should go business casual or extremely formal, but will also give you an idea of the tone of the interview itself.

3. You Don't Have A Stock Pitch

It's a frustratingly generic but often-asked question: “Tell me about yourself.” Prepare now and have a brief, succinct blurb that showcases your talents and experience.

4. You Show Up Unprepared

At the very least, you need to know the job description, information about the company you're hoping to join, and have a physical copy of your resume (yes, the interviewer might have one on hand—but if they don't, this is a lifesaver).

5. You Display Negative Body Language

We’re not saying you should be disingenuous, but it’s important to avoid the type of body language that indicates (whether it’s true or not) you’re not interested in the job. This kind of body language includes not smiling, crossing your arms, not making eye contact with the interviewer (when you’re talking and listening), or having a weak handshake.  

6. You Mention Personal Details

Remember the interview question “Tell me about yourself” does not mean the interviewer wants to know about your private or social life. Keep the conversation on the job at hand, and remember personal stories are never appropriate during an interview.

7. You Don't Show Excitement

You might be tempted to play it cool during the interview, but you really shouldn't—interviewers want to know you're excited about the idea of working for (and with) them! If he or she gets the impression you're bored or simply uninterested, the interview is almost guaranteed to tank.

8. You Don't Ask Any Questions Of Your Own

Most interviewers wrap up the session by asking whether you have any questions of your own—and it's vital that you do. In fact, having good questions for the interviewer can help you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Make a list beforehand, and show your genuine interest in the company and how much you’ve thought about the position.

9. You Bring Up Money

Salary is obviously an important issue for any potential job, but the initial interview is not the place to discuss compensation. Unless the interviewer brings up salary expectations directly, don’t tackle the topic until later on in the process.

10. You Don't Send A Thank You Note

Whether it's a physical letter or an email, sending a thank you note is a must. It's an ideal way to remind the interviewer of your interest in the job and will definitely give you a leg up on a candidate who doesn't send one.

The interview process is a stressful time. Just keep in mind that, when it comes to making an impression, what you don't do can be as important as what you do.

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