Common Interviewing Mistakes You Can Avoid

May 2013

In many ways, searching for your next job opportunity can be an arduous task.  In other ways, you can look at the hunt for a great new career move as one of life’s most exciting challenges.  We all know that the job search truly never ends.  Throughout the entire process, there are ups and downs; but you would probably be surprised how many people trip up on pretty simple pitfalls.  Let’s face it, many times the interview is the biggest moment of the process, and too often great candidates can make costly mistakes.  Here is some advice on how to be better prepared for interviews and avert some common mishaps that could put you at the back of the pack.

The Little Things Need to be Buttoned Up
When planning for your interview, you need to assure that the logistics are a non-factor.  It seems pretty straight-forward but you would be surprised that some candidates just don’t give it enough attention.  Map it out. Check train schedules.  Be on time.  Actually, be 10 minutes early.   Know whom you are meeting with and check out their LinkedIn profiles.  Also, bring a pen and a notepad.  Maybe I’m old school but I think you should be prepared to take a few notes, it shows you are interested and paying attention.   If you are a little old school, bring a few copies of your resume. If you are a creative person or marketer, bring your portfolio or any other materials that can help you shine.  These basic steps will help you avoid the simplest and costliest mistakes.        

Get Fired Up
Looking for a new opportunity will be stressful but the interview serves as “game time”.  You need to showcase a level of energy and enthusiasm at every interview.  The interviewer is going to be evaluating what skills you can bring to the table but they are also looking for attitude, energy and fit for the organization. 

Think about it, you are meeting someone new and they work at a place where you want to work.  Show off your natural curiosity and build a rapport with this person.  Many times, the people you interview with are the same people you will work with day-to-day once you land the job. 

It’s all about the people - so be prepared, energetic, and curious. 

Give them a real solid sense of what you would be like to work with and tell them how excited you are to be there.  One of the biggest pitfalls we see during the recruiting process is interview fatigue.  Whether it is your first or your tenth interview, you have got to push that energy level up for each and every interview.

Make a Connection
Each job interview is an opportunity to sell yourself to the person, team and organization you are meeting with but you need to also make a connection with an interviewer.  They already work at the organization you aspire to join.  Invite them to tell their stories of about how they landed their job.   When they are telling you stories or giving you examples of how the place ticks, make sure you relate to those stories.  Too often, candidates try and bring everything back to their own script during an interview. 


By finding ways to relate to and connect with the folks you meet during the interview process, you show them that you are listening to them.  Be sure to spotlight the things they mention and find your way to be a part of that dialogue. If they drive the discussion down a specific path, then go with them.  By constantly trying to reference back to your resume or “pitch” you may lose them.  Relating to your job interviewers is the key to building the trust needed for them to get comfortable with you as a candidate.

For more information take a look through our Career Center - it offers a lot of helpful tips that will prepare you for your next interview.