You’ve done it! You’ve sent your well-written, tailored cover letter and resume into a job posting or perhaps you’ve networked with a friend or former colleague and you’ve managed to land that coveted interview. Now what?
I’ve worked with hundreds of people and most of them tell me that they’re great at interviewing, they just need to get in front of the hiring manager and they’ll land the job. It’s only a handful that will admit they need help with the interview process.
In my experience, the majority of people could use some help with their interviewing skills. After all, it’s not something that we do everyday (and if you are doing it every day and not getting the job, then we need to talk).
When interviewing, there are minor mistakes that probably won’t cost you the job, but there are major ones that will prevent you from landing the position or being called back for a second interview. The following are three of the most common interviewing mistakes:
1. Assuming it’s all about you.
The interview is not about your own wants and needs. The focus of the interview should be on the needs of the organization with whom you’re interviewing. Your aim in the interview process is to find out the company’s goals and objectives and then tell the interviewer the ways in which you can help them achieve those goals. It’s a good idea to have stories about your past accomplishments that you can relate to the interviewer, this will demonstrate your past successes and how they can apply to your future performance with that company.
2. Not asking questions.
Not asking questions is the number two biggest interviewing mistake. By inquiring about the goals and objectives of the company, as they relate to the position for which you’re applying, you can better assess what the company’s needs are and focus your answers on those skill sets.
Not only will asking questions better enable you to answer questions, having intelligent questions about the company and position will show your high level of interest in the organization. It will demonstrate your eagerness to work with them by showing that you’ve put time and energy into researching and learning about the company.
3. Not listening.
Asking questions is great, but then you must listen to the answers and react to them. Yes, it could mean changing your game plan and shifting your focus, but that’s the point. Listening is as important a skill as speaking in an interview. Oftentimes the person conducting the interview will give you clues as to how to best present yourself. The interview should be a conversation, an exchange of ideas.
A good thing to remember when you’re interviewing is that the company wants to hire you. They’re almost as interested in ending their search for a candidate as you are in finding a job. In advance of an interview, be sure to research the company, look your best and avoid making the three top interviewing mistakes.