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Two Common Interview Mistakes

Let’s face it, interviews are stressful! You have to take time off from your current job, you have to do your due diligence on the prospective company, and then you have to meet with a group of interviewers that are evaluating you against your competition. You may have a series of individual interviews or the dreaded “group” interview…talk about nerve wracking! With all of this going on, you still have to be on your game if you want to keep moving forward in the interview process.

Unfortunately, a few common mistakes can derail your interview…and quickly. With 21 years in the recruiting business, I have heard many reasons as to why an interview did not go well. I have narrowed this list down to the top two, and this feedback comes from both companies as well as candidates.

The most common mistake a candidate makes in an interview is they come across as low energy, they interview in a monotone or “flat” manner with no spark or passion. Companies want to hire energetic, dynamic people. They want that fireball on their team! I often hear phrases from client companies such as, “I want a spark plug”, or “I need a dynamo to bring new energy to the group”. During your interview, your speech pitch and tone, your non-verbal communication such as body language, eye contact, etc… are constantly being evaluated. Even if the interviewer is a low energy person, do not let that throw you off. When you show them you have a great personality, you’re passionate about what you do, and you express genuine interest in their company and the job, you give yourself a distinct advantage over your competition.

The second common mistake is when a candidate talks way too much. You have to be clear and concise with your answers and must be able to provide specific examples within a short time frame. Answer the question and hit the target. You do not need to explain something for 20 minutes, you will lose the interviewer if that happens. Most questions can be answered within 90 to 120 seconds. A little trick that can help if you do find yourself getting wordy, break up the dialogue by asking a question back, it gives you a few seconds to get your thoughts in order and “re-sets the clock”.

A lot of time and preparation goes into an interview and it’s a shame to blow an amazing opportunity by committing these common mistakes.

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