While you can ace every detail in the resume your interviewer is looking for in a position you applied for; the next-level interview gives your potential employer a realistic impression of your artistic work ethic once you become a part of the team. Understanding the mishaps will help you know what to prepare so you can bring home the bacon. Here are the top 7 interview mistakes and how you can avoid them.
LEAVE THE LAPSES AT HOME Though it may be easy to stretch the truth on paper, it is never advised on a resume and especially not in an interview. Your resume got you the interview; now stick to the facts, your experience, and what sets you apart from the others. Interviewers can tell when you’re embellished, so avoid this interview mistake.
One of the most common questions our recruitment agency team gets asked is, “What should I wear to an interview?” yet interview wardrobe choice is still one of the most common interview mistakes we see candidates make. The key to dressing appropriately for an interview is research! If you show up to an interview in a suit and see everyone wearing jeans and tees, you may come off as too corporate of a candidate. When researching the company, look into company culture to ensure you are in proper attire for your interview and look professional without being over or under-dressed. And, of course, try not to wear anything too distracting.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
It should go without saying that you do not want to be late for your interview. You don’t want your first words for both video and in-person interviews to be, “Sorry I’m late.” For phone and video interviews, it is straightforward to lose track of time whether you are at work and need to step outside or are working on another job application. Be sure you are ready with a fully charged phone/laptop battery, proper reception, talking points, and a quiet area. For in-person interviews, check traffic the day before to ensure you leave with enough time and ask before your interview about parking. To avoid this interview mistake, plan to be around 10 to 15 minutes early, as there may be paperwork to fill out, and give your interviewer a great first impression of you. On that note, don’t be too early, as that can lead to you waiting around.
DON’T FORGET TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Going into your interview, it is important to be comfortable talking about your skills and experience, but you should also be prepared to speak to the company and position you are interviewing for. The culture (as mentioned earlier in what to wear), and know whom you’re meeting with. One of the biggest interview mistakes we see is candidates not being able to speak specifically about why they're the right fit for the company/job.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
As previously mentioned, you should be prepared to speak to your skills and experience, but also be prepared to answer questions you aren’t anticipating. The best way we have found to prep for an interview is to have practice interviews with mentors or friends. Have them include a variety of questions and allow them to give you feedback. Being prepared to answer uncommon questions will only help you avoid interview mistakes now and prepare for future interviews.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
This may seem like common sense, but one of the top interview mistakes has nothing to do with you as a candidate. Be sure to silence, or better yet, turn off your cell phone to refrain from distractions, mute your smartwatch, turn off any and all alarms or notifications, and be present in the meeting. While your interview may be held early in the morning or on your lunch break, it is not the time to eat, so be sure to eat after or before, and never during an interview. If you bring water, keep it in your bag and only drink it if it is needed, but do not show up with coffee or a smoothie and expect it to not come off poorly.
THE BACKUP PLAN
It is always essential to have a plan b. For in-person interviews, be sure to have a backup means of transportation, whether through a ride-share app, public transit, or a friend. Having a plan to fall back on is better than stressing and having to cancel an interview you’ve waited weeks for because your car battery dies. If you’re having a phone or video interview, we cannot stress enough the importance of a fully charged battery. If you need to login to a video-conference platform, be sure you know your login and password information, that your webcam works, your microphone is connected. You have a clean background set up available to you.