Getting a job interview can be a challenge these days. It takes a good resume, a lot of effort and a little luck. So after you have put in all of that effort, what are you doing so wrong that’s killing your chances?
It’s the same basic errors that are costing you every time and you probably don’t even know it. Here are the 5 most common job interview mistakes that are costing you your chance of success:
- Poor Preparation
Reading the job ad and looking up the company address does not qualify as good interview preparation. Most interviews will start off with a question like ‘What do you know about the company?’. Read through the company website, search in Google for recent news and check how they present themselves in social media – you will be at an instant advantage over 90% of other applicants this way.
- The Money Question
This can be the most damaging question at a job interview. Answer too high, and you’ve shot yourself in the foot, answer too low and you cost yourself $5K per year. So what’s the best way to handle it? Preparation. Speak to your recruiter, understand what is on offer. Read the job ad, the salary is usually listed. Recruiter Kate Rowe, of Kate’s Writer Reviews, advises “The best approach is to be diplomatic and to not pin yourself to a number. You can say that you are comfortable with what’s on offer, that’s the level I am looking for. Ideally, you want to avoid hard answers on the salary question until second or third interviews.”
- The Strengths and Weaknesses Question
This question is as old as job interviews themselves. Considering this fact, it is still one of the most poorly answered questions. Don’t be shy to sell yourself – if you don’t no one else will. Choose a couple of areas you are strong in that are relevant to the job, and let them know about it. Weaknesses can be more difficult – the best advice is to not name a job critical function as your weakness. Choose something that isn’t going to be a deal breaker and then try to spin it into a positive. For example,I don’t have experience using SAP (the company system but not key to your job), however I have used a range of similar software in the past and I was very confident with all of them.
- The Why are You Looking Question
Here employers are looking to understand your deeper motivations for wanting their job, what exactly attracted you to this unique opportunity. The WRONG answers are ‘the pay is better’ or ‘I am always interested in new opportunities’. These answers make you look like a money chaser that has no loyalty. We all care about the money, but you need to disguise this fact and focus on what part of the job or company appeals to you. Choose unique career path or job specific opportunities that the position offers, or focus on the company and it’s direction or values.
- Bad Mouthing Your Old Boss
It’s clichéd to death and we’ve all had bad bosses but it’s the last thing you should be blurting out in the interview. Making negative comments about your old employer, colleagues or company is a big no no. It makes you look bad and as tempting as it is, you need to come up with much more diplomatic reasons for explaining why you left your previous job. This is one of the most costly mistakes people make, it raises red flags over your personality and can be a deciding factor in your missing out altogether.
These are some of the most common errors that people are constantly tripping up on at interviews. Practice makes perfect with these kind of questions, so just like any good actor would do before an audition, rehearse your lines at home.
Katie Rowe is an ex Recruiter and HR Manager that has interviewed thousands of people over the years. She wants to pass on her advice and experiences to help you get the job that you want. Read more about Katie Rowe here.