All of us have made mistakes during interviews, and most of us have walked out of interviews thinking of all the great things we forgot to mention and all the things we shouldn’t have said. But the most important thing about mistakes is learning from them—and not repeating them. Here are some common interview mistakes:
Failing to express oneself clearly
Failing to express oneself clearly. Often, because of anxiety and wanting to say things perfectly, we try too hard and turn what should be simple sentences into convoluted nonsense. Simple language is always the most effective. Avoid trying to sound knowledgeable by using jargon or complex sentences.
Not being aware of one’s body language
Many interviewees succeed in alienating the interviewer because they pay little or no attention to their body language. Body language is an extremely powerful communicator, and failing to use it effectively will almost certainly put you at a significant disadvantage. Eye contact, sitting position and facial expressions are all very important aspects of interviewing, and need to be thought through before the interview.
Failing to control those nerves
Sometimes people allow their nerves to get so out of control that they fail to establish rapport and even forget their answers. Feeling anxious before and during an interview is common. In fact, a touch of nerves can be a good thing. But there is no need to be the victim of debilitating nerves. As you read through this book, you’ll gradually learn how to lessen your anxiety.
Failing to give appropriate examples
Failing to give examples, or giving inappropriate examples, will spell disaster. Before the interview, it is important to think of relevant examples of what you’ve achieved and how you went about realising those achievements. Saying that you achieved something without being able to back it up with specific examples will only get you a rejection letter. Your examples need to be easy to understand, follow a logical sequence and be relevant to the needs of the employer. None of this happens without preparation.
Trying too hard to please the interviewer
Whilst building rapport and trust during the interview is critical, few interviewers appreciate interviewees going overboard with their behavior. Obsequious behaviors are generally seen as a form of deceit and carry little weight—in fact, they can undermine your efforts to create trust.
There’s nothing wrong with you
You’ve probably committed at least some of the mistakes listed above. It’s very important to realise that making such mistakes is common. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with you. In the vast majority of cases, performing poorly at an interview happens because of the very nature of interviews—it’s the interview process that is the culprit. So an awareness of the basic nature of interviews is the first step in a step-by-step process by which you can significantly improve your performance. A great place to start is to ask: ‘What does it take to convince the interviewer that you’re the best person for the job? ’ The answer to this question can best be summarised in four parts:
- Correct preparation;
- Knowing the things that are important to interviewers;
- practicing your answers;