Most of us understand the basics about preparing for interviews – researching the company, dressing appropriately, practising answers to common questions etc. However, nearly all of us have some blind spots that we are totally unprepared to deal with and they can cause us the most trouble in interviews. In this blog post, we list 4 of the key interview mistakes that you won’t realise you are making.
1. Treating Any Question as a Less Important Question
Maybe a scenario like this has happened to you before – the interviewer is asking questions that make sense to you and then suddenly, you are asked about a module you did in college 10 years ago or how many points you got in your Leaving Cert many years ago. It is easy to think that the question is irrelevant but you have to keep your game face on and give a professional answer. Some Non-Graduate roles have criteria such as how many points you got in your Leaving Cert so if you are asked about it and you don’t know the exact figure off the top of your head, you can say something along the lines of “As far as I can recall, I got X number of points but I will come back to you with the exact number if you wish”. Even if the question appears unimportant to you, you can appear dismissive unless you give a definitive answer or offer to find out.
2. Not Building Rapport
In an interview, it is important to not only focus on how to give compelling and relevant answers to questions but also how you’re going to develop rapport with the interviewer. The interviewer not only wants to figure out if you have the skills and ability to do the role, they also want to see if they and/or their colleagues would like working with you. There are many ways to build rapport – establish similarities, give genuine compliments etc. but one of the best ways to build rapport is to be confident. That’s easier said than done but in many cases, confidence can come from competence. For example, when we first learn how to drive, most of all don’t feel confident at all as it seems challenging to coordinate all the necessary actions. But after practising for a while, we usually become much more competent drivers and our confidence levels improve as well.
The best way to boost your confidence for future job interviews is to develop your competence by practicing mock-interviews with a friend, family member, recruiter or coach. These mock-interviews will help you to develop the skills you need to answer tricky questions, deal with unexpected questions etc. After you have done your mock-interviews, you need to remind yourself that you are ready for the real interview and that you have every reason to feel confident.
3. Not Paying Enough Attention to Your Body Language
To communicate a message successfully, there are three important factors:
1. The words we use
2. The tone of voice we use
3. Our body language
Prior to interviews, most people practice what they are going to say and they are aware that the tone of voice they use will be crucial as well but it can be easy to neglect the importance of body language. Most of us have some physical habits such as grooming gestures or postural tendencies (e.g slouching). In our daily life, these habits are usually not an issue but in an interview setting, they can become a distraction and take the hiring manager’s focus off your talents. If you are undertaking mock-interviews with a recruiter, friend, family member or coach, ask them to evaluate your body language and identify any body language habits that are distracting or undermining your message. Once these habits have been identified, you can focus on consciously controlling them in interviews.
4. Being Too Early
Most of us are aware it is a cardinal sin to be late to an interview but it can also be a problem to show up too early. Think about the last time you had a party and somebody showed up 30 minutes early. You felt like you had to stop what you’re doing and entertain the person. That’s exactly how your interviewer will feel. When Business Insider asked a few hiring managers and career experts the ideal time to show up for a job interview, the consensus was 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time. If you find yourself running way ahead of time, you can walk around the neighbourhood or go to a coffee shop before arriving at the office.
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