5 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

job interview mistakesThe typical lineup of job interview guidelines are so common we could recite them in our sleep. Dress professionally, be on time, don’t chew gum, give a firm handshake…

But what about the lesser known job interview mistakes people make Don’t fall victim to these five interview blunders.

1. Not researching the company

You’ve already made a good enough impression to score a job interview, so don’t let it all go downhill from here. Position yourself as one of the top candidates by dazzling the interviewer with how much you know about the company. This goes beyond a quick Google search while you’re waiting in the lobby.

Do you need to know everything? Of course not, and they won’t expect you to. But here are some things you should definitely know before going into the job interview, according to Glassdoor:

  • The company’s culture, mission and values
  • Clients, products and services
  • News and recent events about the company
  • Key players in the organization

Along with researching key players in the organization, you might also want to research the interviewer. Find these people on the company website and learn more about them through their social media accounts. Look at their backgrounds, education, experience and other interests to get a feel for who they are and who you might potentially be working with.

2. Bashing your previous employer

Maybe you had some issues with your previous boss. He or she was demanding and unreasonable — nearly impossible to work for. But a job interview is not the time nor the place for a venting session.

When you bash your previous employer (even if you’re completely justified), all the interviewer hears is, “I’m difficult to work with.” They have no basis with which to substantiate your claims, and as we all know, there are three sides to every story: your side, the other person’s side and the truth.

If the interviewer asks about your previous employment, keep it light and professional. Don’t throw anyone under the bus. Ultimately, candidates are chosen for their qualifications and overall fit for the company — not for how well they complain.

3. Not asking any questions

Let’s say, hypothetically, all you want is a paycheck. You don’t care what you will be doing or who you will be working for.

If that were the case, do you think you’d ask any questions during the job interview (other than, perhaps, how much the job pays)? Probably not, and if you don’t ask any questions, the interviewer might make the fatal assumption that you just need the money.

Employers expect their candidates to want the job bad enough to have smart questions to ask. And if it’s a highly sought-after position, expect to be one of several people using everything in their job interview toolbox to make it to the next level. This includes asking questions.

Use these questions to get you on the right track:

  • Where do you see this position going in the next five years?
  • How can I most quickly become a strong contributor within the organization?
  • What are the most challenging aspects of the job for which I am being considered?
  • How will my performance be evaluated, and at what frequency?
  • What particular aspects about my background and experience interest you?

4. Talking too much

Keep in mind the interviewer has you scheduled for a certain amount of time in his or her busy day. This isn’t a casual lunchtime chat where you can go on long tangents and tell stories as if you were old friends catching up over coffee.

What this means is, get to the point. Keep your answers concise. Nervous talking and taking too long to answer questions gives the impression that your mind is scattered and you can’t focus — or worse, that you’re being dishonest.

If you find yourself trailing off into rambleville, get yourself back on track. Recognize that even though you may be nervous, you don’t need to wear it on your sleeve, and you don’t need to say more than is necessary at a job interview.

5. Poor follow up

In order to stand out among your competition, you have to keep your name fresh in the employer’s mind. Keep the momentum of your job interview alive with a thank you note, and then be sure to follow up a few days later via phone call or email.

To illustrate the importance of follow up, a 2011 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,800 employers revealed that 86 percent of them felt that not sending a thank you note showed a lack of follow-through. What’s more, 56 percent of them thought not sending a thank you note meant the person was not serious about the job.

Even if you had a great job interview, don’t leave it all up the employer to reach out to you. You may get passed over or forgotten about if you don’t take initiative to let them know you’re still in the game. Remember, the interview process isn’t over until you either hear back that you weren’t the right fit or you receive an offer letter.