The Most Common Job Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Most interviews are not as funny as what you will find in the hit TV show, The Office. That is a good thing.

By Felix Tarcomnicu, Special for  USDR

The job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. But it doesn’t have to be. The fact of the matter is the interview already places you ahead of the others who applied for the same job. That realization should be enough to make you feel more confident. The only thing you need to do is to ace the job interview. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. The job interview is more than just answering questions. Here are the 10 most common job interview mistakes and how to avoid  them:

  1. Lying About  Anything

There is nothing to be gained and everything to lose by fabricating a story or piece of information. A lie by any other term is still a lie. Once you put it out there, you can never get it  back.

Recruiters are seasoned interviewers. Every day they interview new batches of candidates with different backgrounds, experiences and stories to tell. They’ve seen and heard it all. They can easily tell if you are being forthright in the interview or  not.

If the recruiter does not catch you during the interview, he or she may expose you at a later date. Once caught, it may tarnish you in the  industry.

  1. Arriving Late…or Too  Early

Time-keeping is an important quality that is sought after by many companies. Tardiness shows lack of respect for the company and lack of regard for the time of the interviewer. It is viewed as being  undisciplined.

But being too early for the interview is not any better than being late. If you arrive 1-2 hours before your interview time, it can be viewed as having lack of consideration for the recruiter’s  schedule.

Arrive 15-20 minutes before your schedule. It will give you enough time to relax and prepare for the  interview.

  1. Taking Calls on Your Cell  Phone

When you get invited for an interview this means the recruiter saw qualities in your application that made you stand out from others. It is a big step toward landing the job. The interview is your opportunity to present to the recruiter why the company should choose you over the  others.

The worst thing that you could do is to answer your cell phone or respond to messages during the interview. It doesn’t matter who is on the other line, do not answer your cell phone. This is rude behavior and will never be  condoned.

Before taking the interview, leave a voice message advising callers that you will be in a meeting for the next hour and will get back to them as soon as you can. Then turn off your cell  phone.

  1. Lack of Knowledge on the  Company

It is a given that in a job interview you will be asked questions about the company you applied  to.

Yet, some applicants take this for granted and end up being stumped with this  question:

“What do you know about our  company?”

Before going to your job interview take the time to read up about the company. Read up on its history, the people behind it, its main business, greatest accomplishments and future development plans. Learn and understand the information so that your answers will not sound  rehearsed.

Finding information about the company is as easy as clicking on the “About Us” page on their website. Visit their social media pages specifically LinkedIn and Facebook to have idea on what issues interest the  company.

  1. Lack of  Preparation

Given the significance and magnitude of the job interview, it is not a good idea to show up and just “wing” your answers. If you do, you will risk appearing unprepared, weak and disengaged. We all know the basic interview  questions:

  • “Tell me something about yourself.”
  • “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?”
  • “Tell me your greatest achievement.”
  • “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

These are standard questions which have the highest probability of being asked during the job interview. Write down as many possible interview questions and rehearse or practice how you would answer  them.

Do not memorize your answers. Instead use keywords and articulate your answers as well as you  can.

  1. Outdated Resume or Erroneous  Information

One of the most important rules to keep in mind before applying for a job is to make sure your resume is updated. This means the information contained therein should be the same as your online profiles in social  media.

It is also a good idea to bring a copy of your updated resume during the job interview. If there were changes in information from the time of submission until the date of the interview, you can advise the recruiter and forward the updated  version.

You can also use the hard copy as your reference in case the company asks you to fill out their company job application  form.

  1. Not Paying  Attention

Sometimes it happens. Someone is talking to you. You see that person in front of you but somehow you can’t hear what he or she is saying. Perhaps you did not intend to but it could be that you “zoned out” during the  interview.

There are many reasons why people lose focus during the interview. It could be lack of sleep, nerves or pressure. Unfortunately, the interviewer will not ask you “why”. It will be assumed that you are easily distracted. The interviewer may think, “If you can’t focus on one question, how can you focus on your  job?”

Before the interview, make sure you are well-rested. Get at least 8 hours of sleep the night  before.

  1. Bashing Your Previous  Employer

It is also common for recruiters to ask you about your previous employer during the job  interview.

Regardless of the nature of events that led to your resignation, always remain professional in your manner of conduct. Even if the mere mention of the company’s name triggers negative emotional cues, exercise restraint and refrain from bashing your previous  employer.

This is a job interview not the exit interview or a counseling session. As bad as the circumstances were, choose your words wisely and frame the narrative in a respectful  manner.

Remember the saying, “It’s a small world”. The interviewer may know your previous employer very  well.

  1. Acting  Familiar

There are people who associate engagement or involvement during the job interview with talking too  much.

It is normal to be asked about your personal life. This is for the interviewer to get a glimpse of your life outside work. You don’t have to give details about your family, hobbies and interests. Before you know it, you may start behaving as if the interviewer is your new best  friend.

It is fine to be animated or to engage in casual banter to remain at ease and relaxed. But this is a job interview and you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Keep your answers short and  succinct.

  1. Inappropriate Manner of  Dressing

When you are being interviewed for a job, dress professionally. The rule of thumb is to dress appropriately for the job you are applying  for.

For top managerial or executive positions, a coat and tie for men and a business suit with dress pants for women are accepted professional wear. For supervisory to mid-management positions, a sports coat with dress shirt and dress pants are fine for men. Women can wear a blazer and a skirt cut slightly below the  knee.

Dress shirt with a tie and dress pants for men and a smart casual dress shirt and slacks for women are appropriate for entry level positions. Make sure your hair is neatly groomed. Men with facial hair should at least trim them to look neat. Light make up is more appropriate for  women.

The bottom-line is to always prepare ahead of time for the job interview. Being well-prepared puts you at ease and increases your  confidence.

While the stakes at the job interview are high, keep in mind that the company has already pre-qualified you. You can improve your chances of landing the position by approaching it with a “nothing to lose and everything to gain”  attitude.

Author bio

Felix helps people find better jobs and often blogs at ResumeOK. He is the author of the comprehensive guide talking about the best ways to find a job fast, even without experience.

Author  bio
Felix helps people find better jobs and often blogs at ResumeOK. He is the author of the comprehensive guide talking about the best ways to find a job fast, even without  experience.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.