The 3 Biggest Interview Mistakes

interview mistakes

No matter how long you have been working, interviewing for your next job can be nerve-wracking. Even highly experienced candidates can flub interviews.

Pramukh Jeyathilak has seen it happen time and again. He’s been involved in hiring executives for senior positions at companies including Accenture and Microsoft, and is now Strategic HR Partner at Amazon. Here are the missteps he sees candidates make most often during the interview process.

The 3 Biggest Interview Mistakes

1. Too Much Telling, Not Enough Asking

You need to give an interviewer a thorough picture of who you are, of course. “But some people spend spend too much time in telling mode and not enough in asking mode,” Jeyathilak says. Some executives come in and start explaining what they think is not working well at the company or what needs to be improved. “That can be concerning,” he says. “I find a lot of people in that mode are making assumptions that are not true.”

The key is to bring up those kind of issues in the form of a question–not as unsolicited advice. “The more senior you are the more you may have a desire to share your insights,” he says. “In some scenarios, though, people jump the gun.”

2. Ignoring the Big Picture

During an interview, you need to fully understand the tasks of the role you will be asked to perform. And you need to make clear to the interviewer the skills and abilities you have to execute them. But don’t be myopic. You need peripheral vision, too. Be sure to discuss with your interviewer how the particular job fits into the company as a whole, as well as  the company’s overarching strategies, leadership, and vision. Don’t limit the discussion to the job at hand, but delve into the culture and what else is going on in the company, says Jeyathilak.

3. Not Asking Insightful Questions

“As much as I am assessing a candidate, he or she should be assessing the company,” he says. You want to ask questions that reveal how you think, but that also show how you are evaluating the company and role. “They need to ask questions that are insightful to them, and that will make a difference in their own decision-making process,” says Jeyathilak. Remember that companies are hiring for the long-term, and they want you to be as excited about them as they, ideally, will be about you. In a nutshell, show how you think, and what you are thinking about them.

About the Author

Susan Price has been writing about careers, entrepreneurs and personal finance for more than a decade. She’s been an editor at BusinessWeek, Money, and, among others.