Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid

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Preparing for an interview can be nerve racking, and while you may do a great job in being ready for the various questions and quizzes they might spring on you during the interview, there are many, many common mistakes that can easily be ignored or forgotten in the moment. While many of these things are not enough to totally destroy your chances at successfully getting the job, they can add negative points to your account and therefore add up to ultimately knocking you out of the race. So let’s take a look at some of the common, often forgotten things that people can and have done, that can and have affected the interview success.

Arriving late or too early: Obviously being late is an issue, but so is being too early in some cases. It can make the hiring agent feel pressured to wrap up what they are doing in order to get to you. If you do arrive at a location too early, simply wait some time before entering in. Usually being about 10-15 minutes early is a good time frame to shoot for.

Smelly, smelly: Too much cologne or perfume should be avoided. Some people have a low tolerance to strong smells, to the point of it causing allergic reactions. On the other end of the spectrum, foul smells should be avoided too. If you are a smoker, try to refrain from doing so for a while prior to the interview. And obviously do not try to cover it up with extra cologne or perfume, or you’re back breaking the initial point. If feasible, bathe right before going to the interview, and lightly apply the fragrance of choice, or stick with a fresh and clean fragrance possibly.

Wearing unnecessary accessories: Sunglasses, Bluetooth earpieces, or other types of unnecessary items worn inside to a job interview is never advised, and should be avoided. Keep it professional, and dress the part for the interview, not for the street.

Asking too much or two little: Some people ask too many questions at an interview, especially if it is a first interview, while others ask none at all. If you have properly researched a company ahead of time, many questions can be discovered already. However, if there are relevant questions that you need to know in order to decide if the job is right for you, then certainly ask them. Just be careful not to seem too eager, too needy, or too desperate in the types of questions asked. Also, be sure to focus and listen to the conversation carefully, as something may have already been discussed.

Body language: Watch your body language. Slouching, yawning, fidgeting, letting your nervousness become too evident are some of the actions you should try to avoid.

Watch your attitudes: Coming across as arrogant, attempting to name drop too much, sounding like a know-it-all, or even the opposite, attempting to sound too exaggeratedly modest can all come across negatively. Be real, down to earth and honest.

Complaining or rudeness: Never be rude to any of the office staff (like the receptionist you check in with), and never complain to anyone about anything. If you have been kept waiting, let it go, even if they apologize for it, do not show any need for an apology. Do not complain about your last job, your last boss, any prior co-workers, your hours, your pay - basically, simply make it a rule to not complain about anything at any time.

Speaking well: This is a tough one, especially for people who are overly nervous and normally do not speak well in front of others like this. That is why it is important to practice, practice, practice. Have friends or family members go through mock interviews with you until you are comfortable in presenting and selling yourself. Keep practicing until you feel more confident in answering questions without stammering, or using “um” and “uh” too frequently. Knowing what you want to say and how you want to say it will eliminate these types of issues. Also, concentrate on learning to avoid saying things like “you know,” “like” and “I guess.”  Of course, on the other hand, do not sound too overly rehearsed. If you come off sounding like you are simply repeating a script, then you have gone too far the other way. Practice your interview techniques until you know what you want to say about yourself and are comfortable enough to say it in a real and relaxed way.

Learn from your mistakes. If, after an interview, you find you have flubbed up or are deficient in any areas like this, jot them down and use your notes as a way to work on problem areas. Make a check list and go over it before each interview in order to recall and be more focused on what to do and what to avoid. Be as prepared as possible and you will be more successful all around.

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