I've interviewed over 100 people in my career, ranging from entry-level positions all the way up to Directors. One thing that has been interesting to watch is how interview etiquette has evolved over the recent years. I remember back when I was in high school it was all about buttoned up canned responses and while that may still be the case with some old-school corporate environments, there's something to be said for a genuine and personal interview experience. In fact, many companies rate candidates based on 'cultural fit' criteria and the best way to show them you're a fit is by letting your personality shine. I know it's often easier said than done as those interview jitters can tend to kick in once you walk in the door. Below are 5 of the most common mistakes I've seen and hopefully some tips to help you avoid them and land that dream job!
1. You didn't research the company - In the age of information, it's inexcusable to not do your homework. And, I'm not talking about reading the 'About' section on their website. Really take the time to look into the company. Who are their major competitors? How do they market themselves? What's their growth been like the last few years? Stalk the company like you'd stalk your Tinder date.
2. You didn't ask the right questions - Or any questions for that matter! Interviews aren't just a chance for the employer to get to know you, it's also a chance for you to get to know the company and your potential manager. What really makes someone stand out are unique and intelligent questions. Stay away from the typical, "What's the best/worst part about this job" or anything that comes up when you google best interview questions. The best questions are framed in a way that gives the employer insight into what's most important to you. Maybe that's finding out more about the management style or how much interdepartmental collaboration takes place.
3. You didn't seem interested in the position/company - I can spot the difference between a candidate who is just looking for any job and a candidate that is looking exactly for the job they've applied for just by their tone of voice and body language. Sitting in an interview should feel like a lively back and forth conversation between two friends, and not like an awkward exchange between strangers.
4. You broke the golden rule - Why do people still rag on previous employers? It's understandable to expect not everyone is going to have a glowing review of every manager or job they've ever had but surely you can find something positive to say rather than dragging their name through the mud in a job interview. The first thing that crosses a managers mind when this comes up is "Is that how they're going to talk about me if they leave?". Believe me, this is not a great way to start a professional relationship.
5. You just weren't the right fit - Sometimes you can do all the right things and still not get the job. I've met a lot of great people that just weren't a match for the position or the company. If you've really made an impression, chances are the HR team will keep your information on file and circle back around to you when and if the right role opens up. And even if it doesn't feel like it at the time, getting a pass from a potential employer can end up being a blessing in disguise.