Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2017 Contents employment B3
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 guardian.co.tt
6 DEADLY INTERVIEW MISTAKES (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM)
As anyone who has been in a job
search for a while knows, being invited
to a job interview is not something easily
achieved. Becoming one of the few "job
candidates" rather than being part of the
usually gigantic crowd of"job applicants"
is a major victory.
Unfortunately, too many job candidates
blow their interview opportunities, wasting
all that time and effort. Don't be one of those
candidates. Never assume that the job offer is
"in the bag" simply because you were invited
for an interview!
AVOID THESE COMMON INTERVIEW
MISTAKES TO LAND THAT JOB
What you do during a job interview is viewed
as a "sample" of your work. Everything you
do is being judged because they don't know
you (unless you are one of the lucky referred
candidates). Show them you would be a great
hire. Don't make these mistakes:
Mistake #1: Appearing uninterested.
This drives employers crazy. Most employ-
ers have more applicants than they need or
want. If you aren't demonstrably interested
in them, they certainly aren't interested in
hiring you. Instead: Demonstrate your inter-
est in the company and the job. Show up on
time, appropriately dressed. Turn off your cell
phone. Ask intelligent questions that indicate
you have done some research, but don't ask
a question that could be answered in 30 sec-
onds with a Google search or a peek at their
Mistake #2: Being unprepared.
Obvious lack of preparation is an opportu-
nity crusher. And, lack of preparation usu-
ally becomes obvious quickly. Instead: Be
prepared! Preparation will help you demon-
strate your interest in them and the job. You
will also perform better in the interview when
you are prepared. Successful preparation has
• Analyze the job description and your
match with it.
Write out their requirements and how you
meet those requirements. Then, determine
your accomplishments that align with those
requirements, and write them down to help
you remember them.
• Know your answers to the standard job
In particular, be ready for the "What do
you know about us" and "Why do you want
to work here" questions, related specifically
to this employer and job opportunity. Read
How to Answer the Common Job Interview
Questions for details on what employers will
probably ask and how to answer appropriately.
• Research the employer.
Yes, check out the website, as thoroughly as
you can. What do they do? Do they state a "mis-
sion"? How are they organised? Where are they
located? Are they part of a larger organization? If
they have subsidiaries, what do their subsidiaries
do? Note the names of their products and/or
services and get familiar with what each does
(unless they have tens or more). Who are the
officers named on the website? Where are they
located? Do you share any common background
with any of them (hometown, school, service,
volunteer work, etc.)
• Research the interviewers.
Hopefully you know the names of the inter-
viewers, so check out their LinkedIn Profiles.
Do you have anything in common with any
of them (as above, hometown, school, etc.).
Do you notice anything else about them, from
the same college degrees or the same military
service to similar smiling (or not) faces? [Read
Interview Investigation: Know the Interviewer
In Advance for more tips.]
• Know (and implement) the logistics for
getting to the interview on time.
If possible, do a test run at the approximate
time you are supposed to be there, and plan
your departure and arrival for the interview
accordingly, getting comfortable with the
drive or ride, tolls or fees, parking options, etc.
Being late for an interview is DEADLY. If
you arrive more than 15 minutes early, find
an unobtrusive place to hang out until you
can officially arrive. Observe what is hap-
pening while you wait to learn more about
the employer and, perhaps, have additional
questions to ask.
Mistake #3: Being angry.
Angry people are NOT people employers
want to hire. Angry people are not fun to
work with. They may frighten co-workers
and/or customers or clients. They may also
abuse both people and equipment (computers,
cars, etc.). Not good contributors to a happy
workplace or a prosperous business, even if
they don't "go postal."
Instead: If you are angry over a job loss,
horrible commute to the interview, earlier
fight with your kids or spouse, or anything
else, dump the anger before the interview, at
Stop, before you enter the employer's prem-
ises, take a few deep breaths, put a smile on
your face, and do your best to switch gears
mentally so you are not "in a bad place" in
Dr. Amy Cuddy's "power poses" done in
private for a couple of minutes before you
leave for the interview or after you have arrived
(corner of the parking garage or stall in the
restroom), but before the interview. They lift
the darkest moods and increase confidence --
both can improve your interview performance
Mistake #4: Sharing TMI.
Sometimes, people have a whole-truth-
and-nothing-but-the-truth mindset in a job
interview, so they "spill their guts" in answer
to every question. Not smart or useful! I'm
not recommending telling any lies, but I am
recommending that you avoid boring the
interviewer and blowing an opportunity by
sharing too much information. If they want
more details, they'll ask.
Instead: Answer their question, and then
stop talking. Or, ask a question of your own.
Mistake #5: Negative body language.
If you never smile, have a limp handshake,
and don't make eye contact with the people
you meet at the employer's location, and
especially with the interviewer, you'll come
across as too shy or too strange or simply not
interested. Instead: Show your interest and
enthusiasm. If you are naturally very shy or
an introvert, express your enthusiasm.
Smile, say hello, look them in the eye, and
shake hands as though you really are happy
to meet that person, and soon you will be.
Mistake #6. Not having good questions
or asking the wrong questions at the
To an employer, no questions = no inter-
est. Number one, above, indicates how deadly
that is to your success with the opportunity.
As bad as having no questions is asking the
During the first interview, asking questions
only about raises, promotions, vacation, and
benefits are not usually well-received. Those
questions apparently indicate that you are just
interested in specific personal benefits rather
than the job.
Instead: Ask the questions that occurred
to you as you were doing your pre-interview
research, as you talked with the people during
the interview, or as you observed people in
Ask for details about the job---what an
average day is like, if the job is new or being
filled because the previous employee was
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