Having spent a good deal of my career on the other side of the hiring desk, it amazes me how many misperceptions exist about the interview. Below I will share 5 of the most common mistakes job seekers make in the interview and how to avoid them.
1. Employers assume the job seeker wants the job. This is not a safe assumption. Did you know that lack of enthusiasm for the job is one of the two main reasons Human Resources professionals reject applicants? Employers have egos and want to know you want the job. Take the time to articulate why you want the job and do it a couple of times during the interview.
2. The interview is just a conversation. Beware. If the interviewer starts talking about football and sports that does not mean you should follow along. You will encounter many untrained interviewers out there and it is your job to steer the conversation back to how you can provide value to the company.
3. The interview is always a one-on-one meeting. Interviews can be anything from presentations to panel interviews to group problem solving sessions with other applicants. In this economy, it is not uncommon for employers to conduct a variety of screening scenarios that will often leave the applicant unprepared and dumbfounded. It’s best to plan to for the unexpected and practice your group presentation skills.
4. If I meet the job qualifications, I’ll get hired. Hiring decisions involve much more than whether or not the job seeker has the right qualifications. Fit and chemistry play a huge role in the hiring process as employers want to be sure there is a match between you and the company’s culture. In fact, many interview questions are values based.
5. If asked about salary, make sure you divulge information immediately. This is the question job seekers struggle with the most. Interviewers are trained to ask this question early on as a way to screen you out. Always defer your response by saying you will be happy to discuss salary once you have a better understanding of the complexities of the job and are certain of the value you can deliver.
When I prepare for an interview I try to think like a driver who drives defensively. Always anticipate the needs of the employer. Think about the road of interview questions that lies ahead. By doing this you will be prepared for the unexpected and not be caught off guard by those questions that might otherwise throw you for a loop. Good luck! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.