No one expects you to be perfect in a job interview. With your career on the line, you may be a little nervous, and that’s OK. In my previous post, I discussed how to make a fantastic impression. Now let’s address 7 interview mistakes that, unfortunately, I see or hear about on a regular basis and any one of them could easily land your resume in the trash.
- Talking too much. Yes, you’re there to tell your story and persuade the interviewer you’re the right person for the job. Talking too much, however, is probably one of the most common interview mistakes that get candidates rejected from positions. Keep your answers on topic and brief; don’t just ramble. You can always ask, “Did I answer your question?” or “Would you like another example?”
- Getting too personal. This is related to the first point. Particularly when we’re nervous, we might share information that no one wants to hear about. Talking about your health, marital status, or how many kids you have puts the employer in a bad position, because they are not allowed to discriminate for any reason. If an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” stick to your education and work experience.
- Swearing. Believe it or not, I’ve had candidates eliminated from the process because they used inappropriate language in the interview. And if the interviewer swears, ignore it and don’t feel obligated to join in!
- Chewing gum. Just like back in school, chomping gum is nothing but trouble. Don’t even do it during a phone interview.
- Getting distracted by your phone. Having your phone ring or ping you with a notification or even worse, answering it is disrespectful as well as distracting. My best advice is to leave it in your car. If you must have it with you, don’t fiddle with it. Put it in your pocket, purse, or briefcase, on vibrate or completely off.
- Asking about salary or benefits. Particularly in your first interview, you’re selling yourself to the company not trying to find out what they have to offer you. If you’re working with an external recruiter, of course, you can ask those types of questions.
- Treating the receptionist rudely. Not all companies have a main receptionist anymore, but there will often be someone at the department where you’re meeting the interview. Be polite! They’re the first point of contact, and I guarantee they will share positive or negative input about how they were treated. I’ve even worked in places where the receptionist would make notes right on the candidate’s resume.
All of these interview mistakes have one thing in common: They’re 100% under your control. Your resume, skills, and experience are obviously important, but the behaviors you display may determine whether you get to the next round.