Interview Tips

5 things to avoid during job interviews

1. Performing in “Interview Mode”: It’s rare that I meet an interviewee being themselves during an interview. Most interviewees go into “interview mode”, which basically means they become rigid, formal and awkward. This is a dangerous game, as interviewers need to assess personality and organisational fit during an interview.

My advice: Recognise that a hiring decision is based on more than just skills and qualifications. Focus on getting genuine personality across at interview, a key factor for any hiring decision. Try to relax and be yourself. Smile, be friendly, and try to build rapport.

2. Hiding your interest: If they don’t think you’re interested, then you won’t get hired. Interviewees hide their interest for many reasons, thinking it’ll impact salary negotiations, or thinking they’ll come across desperate. Firstly, there won’t be any salary negotiations if the interviewer doesn’t think you’re interested. Secondly, I’d rather risk coming across desperate than risk coming across as lacking interest.

My advice: Don’t hide your interest. Inject passion and energy into your performance at interview. Prepare in advance for the “interest” related interview questions, such as, why do you want this job?

3. Talking too much: A combination of nerves and poor preparation can cause interviewees to talk too much during interview. It’s important to keep your answers crisp, relevant and impactful.

My advice: Invest more time into interview preparation. Ensure you are clear about the job requirements and how you meet them, and ensure you know your CV inside out. Answers questions confidently, then stop!

4. Little white lies: Simple, don’t lie, you’ll get caught out. I recall a story of a guy who lost a job offer because he tried to hide a three month gap in employment. This was uncovered during referencing, raising concerns about other potential lies. The job offer was retracted, even though the gap wasn’t a major issue for the employer.

My advice: Don’t lie, be upfront and honest! Conduct an audit of your achievements in advance of interview, ensuring you articulate these achievements during interview. Focus on the skills you bring to the table, not the skills you’re missing. Remember, in most cases, missing a few of the job requirements isn’t always a deal-breaker.

5. Negativity: Negativity will turn off most interviewers, and this includes negativity targeted towards current or previous employers.

My advice: Stay positive during an interview. Prepare clear reasons for leaving current/previous employment. Keep your guard up, as some interviewers may try to lead you down a path of negativity.

Paul Mullan is founder of Measurability, a leading Irish outplacement and career coaching service.

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