Interviewing can be scary, especially if you haven’t been on an interview in a while. Many people worry about talking too much or too little, and about whether to sell themselves or attempt to come across as humble. If you’re feeling interview stress, remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed. He or she has a position to fill and would be thrilled for you to be the person to fill it. Still, there are a few common mistakes that could take you out of the running for the job. Here’s what not to do.
The interview is a great time to ask questions about the company and the position. But it’s important to do some basic research first. At the very least, you should know what the company is and what they sell. Bonus points if you’ve tried the product or service yourself.
Companies want to hire people who genuinely want to be there. Think of at least one reason you would like to work for that specific company. Maybe you like their products, or you respect the CEO, or you think the position is the perfect fit for your background and experience. It doesn’t matter what your specific reason is, only that you come across as enthusiastic.
Come Across as Self-Centered
Everyone wants to get ahead, but your interviewer wants to know that you’re a team player. Talk about how you can help grow and develop the team and the company, not just your career.
At the same time, it’s important to be self-aware. You may be asked about your biggest strengths and weaknesses. This is the time to be authentic and build a human connection by identifying your challenges and the concrete steps you are taking to overcome them.
Confidence is a strength, but arrogance is not. If your interviewer brings up a challenge that your potential workgroup is facing, resist the urge to state that you know how to fix it simply. Instead, take the opportunity to practice active listening. Ask relevant questions. Look at the problem in a new way. Demonstrate empathy, intellectual curiosity, and deductive reasoning. Show that you’re a team player who is eager to dive in and work with others to find solutions.
Ultimately, your interviewer wants to know two things: Do you have the skills needed to do the job, and are you someone who would be enjoyable to work with? Your interview is your opportunity to show that you meet both sets of criteria.