5 Interview Mistakes

Effective interviewing is a vital part of the job acquisition process, particularly when seeking a job in a down market. In many instances, the interview is the first time you will meet your potential employer face-to-face and, as such, is your only chance to make a first impression. As you prepare for your next job interview, keep in mind some potentially job-opportunity-killing mistakes that those seeking jobs all-to-often make. By avoiding these blunders, you can improve your chances of remaining in the running for that job you eagerly seek.

1. Not Dressing the Part

While clothes don’t necessarily indicate how hard a worker you will be if you are hired, they do give potential employers an immediate impression of who you are as a job candidate. Never underestimate the impact that well-selected clothes can have upon the initial impression you give your would-be boss. Always err on the side of dressing too formally. Even if you show up in a suit to a job interview at which other candidate are more informally clad, your potential employer will likely not see this overdressing as a problem, but instead as an indication of how seriously you are dedicated to make your first impression a positive one.

2. Dancing Around Questions

When interviewers ask you specific questions, they are seeking specific answers. Don’t dance around questions, rambling on without getting to the point and perhaps failing to ever do so. Remember, your interviewers have likely conducted a large number of interviews in the days and hours surrounding yours, so they last thing they want is to have to listen to you ramble on and on. If you fear that you have a tendency to ramble, put a concerted effort into not doing so, pausing before you start to answer and considering your response so you can keep it short and to the point.

3. Ignorance of the Company

Even if you had never heard of the company at which you are trying to obtain a job before you saw their help wanted listing, don’t allow this ignorance to show at your interview. Companies aren’t commonly eager to hire someone who is just seeking a job -- any job. Instead, they want someone who has a vested interest in the company. Spending time pre-interview gathering information about the company so you can sound educated at the interview will likely prove worth the effort.

4. Bad-Mouthing Your Former Boss

Even if you left your last job on less-than-good terms, you should never speak ill of your former employer in front of a potential new boss. If the interviewer specifically asks you about your reason for leaving your past job, provide a diplomatic answer, stating that you and your former employer had a difference of opinions or that you wanted to explore other options instead of launching into a tirade about how horrible this past boss was.

5. Failing to Ask Questions

Though you may be a bundle of nerves at your interview, you should never leave the interview table without posing a few questions to your interviewers if you are given the opportunity to do so. By asking questions of the interviewers, you can make it clear that you are seriously interested in the position. Also, by posing informed and well-thought-out questions you can make yourself appear thoughtful and inquisitive, traits that many employers seek in a new employee.