There are several common pitfalls to which one can succumb if you’re not an experienced interviewee. We raise a number of these for your consideration:
Not being prepared – this ranges from doing your research on the position and company with which you are interviewing to knowing your own history well enough to talk about it without reading from a sheet of paper. Knowing your own material and knowing about the company are key musts to being successful.
Not asking questions – whether the interviewer gives you a formal opportunity to ask questions or not, you should have some questions prepared to ask them; these can be about the position, compensation, company or timeline. Make them thoughtful questions. If you can develop your questions in a way that highlights the fact that you did your research and showcases your strengths, that’s even better!
Not having the answers – you should be prepared to answer the most common interview questions at all times. An example of this includes being able to identify your biggest strength and biggest weakness. If you don’t identify a weakness, it is not looked at favourably. You should be able to identify areas for your own development. The best way to answer this is to identify a strength as a weakness (e.g. sometimes I am too eager to get the job done, so my colleagues think I’m too aggressive!).
Not being confident – from poor body posture, muted responses, to overuse of verbal pauses like “uh” and “ya”, projecting poor confidence can make even the most viable and qualified candidate seem mundane, unenergetic, or weak. Go into an interview knowing that you have what it takes and that you, being you, is enough. Maintain a good upright posture, don’t cross your arms, speak clearly and project that self in you that you want the interviewer to see, take deep breaths if you need to calm yourself. It is okay if you need to pause before answering to collect your thoughts – take a moment, sip water, gather a thought, and then respond (much better than listening to someone stumble through a poorly thought answer.
The “Me, Me, Me” attitude – when you enter an interview, the key is to remember that you are there to provide a benefit and service to the employer, and above that to be better than other potential candidates at providing and even better service. Go into an interview with the attitude that your background and knowledge will benefit the employer, do not go in asking what can the employer do for you and how will you benefit. Show case how your qualifications and career goals align to the employer, and how things you are interested in could add value to the employer.