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5 Really Common Interview Mistakes (you probably don’t even know you’re making..)

Posted on Nov 19, 2019

When we don’t get the job or even asked back for a second interview, we all wonder the same thing, “what went wrong?”.

Sometimes the answer is actually nothing, you may have performed the perfect interview and have just been unlucky enough to come up against someone that was that little bit better for the job. Usually though, there are some common mistakes that we see candidates make that may be the reason the employer decided not to go ahead.

Here are our top 5.

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1. Not Wanting THIS Job.

A lot of people make the mistake of wanting ANY job and not THIS job specifically. You can’t make the assumption that the interviewer knows you want the job you’re are interviewing for. You may well be in a position where you are willing to accept any role that crosses your path, but you need to apply your answers specifically to the job at hand.

Talk about how your skills fit the requirements in the job description and how you will use them to help the company and when asked questions, ensure you answer in a way that shows considered thought as to how your experience and this role, company, culture etc cross paths.

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2. Having Low Energy

Maybe you slept badly the night before your interview or have had the commute from hell or just need a really big coffee. Whatever your reason for feeling tired or lacking energy, do not let this show in the interview. Slouching, not making eye contact, rubbing your eyes, yawning etc all send signals to your interviewer (right or wrong), that you’re not interested; either in the job or what they’re saying.

We’re not saying you need to project Homer Simpson levels of loud, but you do need to show energy and enthusiasm. Sit upright, use confident body language, keep eye contact and ensure you’re projecting your voice.

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3. Rambling.

If you have been accepted for an interview it’s safe to assume that the interviewer knows that you and your skills are suitable for the role right? NO!! One of the biggest mistakes we see excellent candidates make is not doing the preparation work required to answer successfully in an interview.

When there has been insufficient preparation, the most common responses interviewers receive to questions, are long, rambling ones. Sure you might stumble across the right answer, but if it takes you a long time to get there, it could be a big turn off. Doing a refresher of your skills, projects and experience before an interview goes a long way towards ensuring you answer clearly and concisely.

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4. Not Doing Your Research.

If the company is in your industry, there is a high chance that you already know a bit about them, but if they’re not (or really, even if they are), you need to do your research before an interview. Do you need to know who the VP was in 1973? Probably not. But it is useful to read up about the current leadership team, the company’s mission statement, any relevant recent press and their goals for the near future.

The second step to doing your research is then showing your interviewer how your skills, experience and goals fit in to their bigger picture and importantly, how you think you can help them achieve it.

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5. Talking About Yourself.

We can almost hear you saying.. “umm, it’s an interview, I’m meant to be talking about myself…” and yes, you are right, but you need to talk about yourself within the right framework. A big mistake that a lot of very good candidates make is talking about themselves with no reference to how you fit into the job or framework of the company.

Employers need to know about your skills and experience, but they want to know about how your “ability to dig in during tough times” and “incredible attention to detail” is going to directly benefit the company. They want to know how you are going to add value to their team from the day you join the company. You can still talk about yourself, but frame the discussion in a way that benefits them, not you.