To err is only human and to make mistakes in an interview situation is totally normal. However, mistakes are a great opportunity to learn from and ultimately improve your performance in the next interview. Some common mistakes and tips are detailed below:
Tip 1: Not Knowing Your CV
Getting details, dates, facts and figures mixed up is a common mistake in interviews. This causes confusion for the interviewer as what you are saying does not correlate with what is written on your CV.This can lead to your credibility as a candidate being called into question.
The key learning from this is to know your CV inside and out before the next interview
Tip 2: Failing to Research
An interviewer expects that you have conducted basic research on their company, their company strategy, and position within the industry and who their main competitors are. To not know these basic facts sends a message to the interviewer that you don’t really care about the company and perhaps the only reason that you are sitting in front of them is to increase your salary.
The top tip to emanate from the above is to allocate at least half a day to fully research the company and industry. Visit LinkedIn and research the qualifications and experience of the top people in the company. If you really want to impress try and talk to customers or even better, employees of the organisation and avoid the temptation to canvass for the position. Talking to customers is a lot easier if the company is in the FMCG sector or generally sell into the retail sector. However in B2B situations, unless you know someone personally this can be much more awkward to attain.
Tip 3: Failure to ask the right questions
You may have conducted a great interview and feel that you are home and dry when the interviewer asks “Have you anything to ask of us?” the worst answer is just to say “no” or “not at this time”. It is better to research and ask questions regarding their strategy for growth, industry trends or specific questions relating to the position you are interviewing for.
Tip 4: Failure to Prepare Answers
There are some standard bread and butter questions which will be asked in practically every interview. Examples are “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths?”, “What are your weaknesses?” or “Where do you see yourself in X years’ time?” The list goes on. To stumble through these questions indicates to the interviewer that you are not fully prepared.
Stock interview questions are a great opportunity to wow the interviewer and exemplify why you are the perfect candidate for the advertised position.
Tip 5: Too much self-focus
Only part of the interview is about you and it is important that you don’t take over the conversation. It is akin to being on a date where one person does all the talking and the other person cannot get a word in edgeways.
Active listening to what the interviewer is saying about the position and about their organisation is key. Interviews after all are a two-way conversation and many interviewers will be more impressed by your active listening skills than repeating yourself for the sake of dominating the conversation.
The key learning is to practice active listening and always remember that an interview is a two-way conversation.
Making mistakes in interviews is only human but in order to perfect your interviewing skills, take note of these mistakes and devise a plan as to how you are going to prevent them happening in the future, thus turning past mistakes into future opportunities.