An interview provides employers with a window into your personality and also allows you a chance to learn more about the company, showcase your skills, and explain what you have to offer.
In order to help both of the sides of the table get what they need from this experience, it’s a good idea to just relax and be yourself. At the same time, you’ll need to be your best self. That means paying close attention to poise and watching out for common interview pitfalls. Let your personality shine through, but as you do so, make sure you avoid these five blunders that can hurt your chances.
1. Delivering anything that sounds like a rant
If you speak continuously for more than twenty seconds, and any of the words that come out of your mouth are even remotely negative, that’s a rant. At a casual party, the same words in the same tone might be categorized as “sharing an opinion” or “offering an explanation”. But in a job interview, that’s ranting, and it’s a mistake. Watch the clock. If you’re dominating the airwaves for twenty seconds or more, something’s wrong. Stop and change course.
2. Second guessing your interviewer
Even if you’re just using a figure of speech, try not to say anything that sounds as if you’re second guessing your interviewer or questioning her questions. Phrases like “Do you really want to know?” or “If you want me to be perfectly honest with you…” can seem confrontational or tone deaf, even if they aren’t meant that way. Of course your interviewer wants you to be honest. And of course she wants you to answer the question. That’s why she asked it.
3. Laughing at inappropriate times
Laugh when things are funny. In the absence of an intentionally amusing remark, smile, but keep the laughter to a minimum. People laugh and giggle when they get nervous, and this is perfectly natural, but if you rein in the impulse, you’ll gain points for steadiness and emotional control. While you’re at it, try not to tell jokes. Lighthearted and witty remarks are okay. Jokes are not. If you can’t tell the difference, stay on the safe side and avoid both.
4. Spinning, weaving, and waffling
5. Saying nothing at all
Open up to your interviewer. Even if you aren’t a naturally chatty person, try to answer questions with more than just a simple yes or no. Expand, offer detail, and provide more of yourself (a little more) than asked. As the interview comes to a close, the manager will probably ask you if you have any questions of your own about the company or the position. Consider this moment an opportunity, and don’t squander it by simply saying nothing. Speak up and ask, for example, why the interviewer chose to work for this company and what she likes best about being an employee here.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to prepare for an interview is to try a few dry runs beforehand. Even if you’ve been through hundreds of job interviews in your life, it’s still a good idea to enlist a friend and walk through the process in an informal setting. Even better, visit LiveCareer a few days before your interview and take advantage of our mock interview tools and practice sessions.
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