Well, there it went. The umpteenth interview you’ve been on this year.
It is often very hard to assess what is going wrong during an interview. You were caught up in the moment, adrenaline pumping, and you shared a laundry list of accomplishments. You were upbeat, confident.
Without a fly-on the wall view you would never be able to see the error in your actions, responses, demeanor, or interview technique, unless you are lucky enough to receive feedback.
Take a self-assessment of your interview technique, and make sure you aren’t making some of these common interview blunders hiring managers see. Then learn how to correct them.
- You Didn’t Practice. Knowing how you will answer a question reduces anxiety and the need to improvise an answer. Lack of preparation – next to the stress of unemployment, eagerness, and sometimes desperation for employment – is one of the leading causes of the jitters you feel during the interview. “The more familiar interviewing feels to you, the less anxiety you will feel with the process.” says Alison Doyle, Job Search and Employment Expert. Hiring managers will quickly spot anxiety and off the cuff responses – so be prepared! Practice in front of the mirror, practice with a friend or family member. Get feedback and ask if they believe you answered the question accurately, in a way that highlights your value.
- You Didn’t Do Your Research. A great way to lose respect from the hiring manager, is to ask questions that you could have found the answer to before the interview. If you don’t have the time to get an informational interview, at the very least you should take an extensive look at the company’s website, LinkedIn page, social media activities, etc.
- Misuse of Humor. Humor is good – in moderation. Don’t lose grip on a professional, yet conversational demeanor. Hold back on nervous laughter, and self-deprecating humor.
- Rambling. “Tell me about yourself” is that wonderful question where so many interviewees go off the deep end. This should be your elevator pitch, so keep it brief. Elena Bajic, CEO and Founder of Ivy Exec, sees a trend in which professionals tend to answer this question in reverse: starting with the minutia, and gradually building to the final answer to the question: “Well I started off in consulting, which is where I picked up strong analytical skills, but over time I realized that what I wanted to really do…” Instead, Bajic recommends starting with the big picture, and asking the interviewer if they would like to hear more details until they are satisfied.
- The Conversation Was All About “Me.” Unless it comes up, don’t start asking about what’s in it for me. Now is not the time to discuss salary, how soon you can expect to be promoted, or find out about vacation time. A better question to ask is “How do you see this role developing within the company?” By flipping the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” question around, and get the hiring manager’s take, you have a chance to demonstrate how you can achieve their vision.