It’s okay to make a few small mistakes in a job interview – after all you’re human and the interviewer(s) understand that. What you don’t have room for is making a BIG mistake. Below are the top 10 job interview mistakes to avoid.
1. Joking Around
Although you may have a great sense of humor – leave the jokes at the door. Telling a joke has too many downsides like offending someone or making you look unprofessional and foolish. It is okay to share a humorous work anecdote related to an interview question, but never tell a joke.
Even if the interviewer drops a few curse words never join in. Not even the smallest swear word. Even if one of the interviewers is one of your best friends don’t do it. There’s no benefit at all.
3. Long Stories
Long stories are boring and often wind up way off topic. Don’t get caught up telling a long-winded tale.
Make sure you give yourself a once over when you arrive at the interview. Show up early and sneak into a restroom and inspect your clothes and yourself. You want to make sure your clothes are twisted up somehow and that there’s nothing hanging from your face that shouldn’t be.
5. Too Personal
Tough times fall on everyone, but do not share them with the interview panel. It shows you lack discretion and can make the interviewers feel uncomfortable. Everyone goes through a rough patch, but keep it private.
6. Copy Cat
Some experts say to match the body language of the person or people interviewing you. Don’t do it. It’s just downright creepy. You are better off to match the overarching tone of the interview (serious or social). Never mimic the movements of the panel. Creepy!
7. Talking Too Much
Some people like to talk. Most interviewers will not stop you so you have to be able to stop on your own. It’s often a sign of being nervous. The interview should be a two sided conversation where the two parties learn about each other. Who likes a one-sided conversation?
8. Being General
Using generalities in a job interview will get you nowhere. Interviewers want specific answers. Avoid sweeping generalities and hyperbole. If they ask you the same question again it’s often because you didn’t answer it fully the right time.
Whether it’s a bizarre hairdo or unwanted facial hair you need to be conservative in a job interview. It’s okay to be yourself, but you may want to tone down and shave the goatee and fix the faux-hawk. Maybe you love the band Flock of Seagulls – just don’t look like you do.
10. Take a Drink
If someone offers you a drink of water then take it. It makes you appear courteous and relaxed. Don’t worry, it’s not some trick to see if you will bite. You do not look weak by taking a sip of water.