You wake up in a cold sweat. You were dreaming that you were interviewing with the CEO of your dream company for your dream job. And you were naked. And it was in Japanese. And you couldn’t stop hiccuping. But it was a dream, and the likelihood of any of those things happening in real life is slim to none. There are, however, some very real interview nightmares you may come across, and it’s best to be prepared on how to combat them.
1.Criticizing your previous employer
“So Daniel, why are you leaving Joe Soap & Sons?” It’s a question every interviewer will ask, and it’s probably the one you most know the answer to… If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be kicking Joe and his Soapy sons to the curb, now would you? But the answer you have for yourself, and the answer you give your interviewer, shouldn’t always be the same. Your interviewer is not your therapist, and babbling off about how bad your last job was, just makes you seem negative and unprofessional.
2. Not being armed with examples
Your interviewer asks you to give an example of a previous project where you excelled, and you hit a blank. It’s not that you don’t have the necessary experience, it’s that you don’t make a note of your achievements, or just didn’t prepare well enough. When an interviewer asks for an example, they’re giving you an opportunity to prove your abilities. You should answer and leave them thinking, “Wow. I’d love you to do the same for us.”
3. Knowing nothing about the company
It’s called Google, and it means there’s really no excuse for not doing your homework. If you don’t study the company website before an interview you either look unprepared, desperate to take any job that comes along, or not bothered whether you get the job or not. It also means that when they ask you “what do you think of our app?” or “what would you do to improve it?” you won’t be equipped to answer, and might fall into the next nightmarish trap…
If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. Don’t make something up, don’t start babbling on about other unrelated things, or start guessing…just say you don’t know. Most often, having a small gap in your knowledge isn’t a deal breaker, but showing off, lying or talking nonsense definitely is.
5. Having no questions
Interviews are a two way thing. You should be interviewing the employer, seeing if it’s the right working environment for you, if the hours suit you, and the work will give you a chance to grow. Having no questions makes you look like you’ll take any job that comes your way, and that you’re not putting much thought into the job finding process.
6. Being too rehearsed
Yes, you should prepare, but you should also make an effort to relax and be human. Your interviewer isn’t only looking for correct answers, but also wants to get a feel for your personality.
7. Not having an elevator pitch
“So tell me about yourself…” Urgh, this question. It’s broad and uninspired, but almost every interview starts with it, so please do yourself a favor and have your answer prepared. If you succeed on this one, you’ve set the interview off to good start.
8. Over sharing
Don’t lie about yourself, but keep it professional, you don’t need to tell your interviewer about your ongoing struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. Answer their question, and then stop talking, or ask a question of your own.
9. Being late
Or worse, calling to reschedule or cancel at the last minute. Even with a good reason, it doesn’t reflect well on you at all. You shouldn’t have to call an interviewer for directions, you should find out for yourself, and then leave home early to make sure you get there on time.
10. Social Media
Don’t be naive, most employers will do a bit of research on you before you come in for an interview, and if they see last nights drunken escapades, or info which contradicts what you’ve written in your resume, you’re unlikely to succeed.
If you do fail, then learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t let your last interview squash your confidence for the next one.
Happy job hunting! 😉
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