The last article talked about 5 essential elements of an interview. But those aren’t sufficient for success. You also need to avoid a few common pitfalls. Only an interview that follows the positives and avoids the negatives can lead to your selection.
Without further ado, here are the 5 must-avoid interview practices.
Interview etiquette is too important to be overlooked. Even the slightest breach, whether intentional or unintentional, leaves an ever-lasting negative impression. A blatant mistake is not keeping your phone on silent and sending your peppy ringtone buzzing through the room. How unprofessional! And checking your phone during the interview, as if you are expecting a call more important than the interview itself, is a dead-end too.
Another behavior that is frowned upon is not listening to the interviewer and asking to repeat the questions frequently. It is not only an awkward moment for the interviewer but also a sign that you lack focus.
So you know that you have to sell your skills in an interview. But which skills and how? If you answer that ‘hard work is my strength and perfectionism my weakness’, don’t expect the interviewer to be impressed. Why? Because everyone on the planet would like to project themselves as such! So stay away from cliches and put some life in your interview by personalizing your answers. ‘My strength is that I do not lose hope and my weakness is that I struggle while multitasking’ is a much more mature and realistic answer than the above.
Also, if you can provide a genuine personal story exemplifying these characteristics, be sure to be considered for the final selection.
Projecting A Bad Image Of Someone/Something
In real life, it is possible that your performance was negatively affected because of something outside of your control, but putting the blame on it, whether directly or indirectly, is a sure exit path in an interview. The fact is that the interview is about you and your job is only to project yourself as a suitable candidate. Getting into a blame game or bad mouthing is both unnecessary and harmful.
You must use a sophisticated way to put forth such complicated situations. For example, ‘my company didn’t offer the resources to succeed in that project’ is a blame-game, while ‘due to lack of resources, our team fell short of its target’ is a plain-fact statement with no negative reference.
Yes, you are supposed to relax during an interview. By all means, make an effort to be personable, but make sure not to get personal. It is likely that you have a common contact with the interviewer and you want to emphasize on that connection. Not a bad idea, but if you bring forth this connection at the beginning of the interview, it will sound like an unwarranted attempt to influence. Rather, nudge it smoothly towards the end, if you must. Also, an interviewer is open to questions but stay away from questions that do not deal with the job or the company.
We cannot stress enough on this last must-avoid. While it may appear to be a basic tenet, not everyone follows it, especially in the competitive landscape of the job market. Truth be told, the interviewer has a keen sense and you are likely to be grilled on a fabricated story. Even if you safely manage to pass, a lie seeded in the interview can haunt you later during the job. Lastly, it is plain unethical to lie on the resume or during the interview.
So play a safe and honest game, and win the job that you are genuinely suited for.
Now that we have covered the must-dos and must-avoids, keep practicing your interview skills and we will bring you more useful material in the coming weeks. Do get in touch if you would like us to coach you personally.
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