Job interviews can be stressful situations and it's easy to make mistakes, either due to nerves or a lack or preparation.
With employers placing a growing importance on soft skills across all professions, showing that you can conduct yourself well during an interview can be just as important as demonstrating strong technical abilities.
“It’s an all too common occurrence that we see extremely talented professionals let themselves down at their interview, either by not addressing their interviewer in the correct manner or failing to communicate their desire for the role effectively,” says Sam Walters, Director at Robert Walters.
So what are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid?
It’s an all too common occurrence that we see extremely talented professionals let themselves down at their interview, either by not addressing their interviewer in the correct manner or failing to communicate their desire for the role effectively
1. Showing off
When you’re in an unfamiliar environment and under pressure to impress, it can be easy to oversell yourself in a way that comes across as disingenuous. You will want to highlight your strengths to the interviewer but it's also extremely important to show that you are self aware and recognise the areas where you can improve. Showing your interviewer that you are taking steps to address areas where you have room for improvement can be a very effective way to communicate confidence and show initiative.
2. Fabricating answers
If you’re hit with a curveball question, try to avoid diving straight in with an answer. Instead, take a moment to consider all elements of the question so that you can provide an honest and considered response. Often, rushing in with an answer can lead to unnecessary fabrication, even if this isn't your intention.
3. Forgetting your manners
Forgetting some of the basic social graces during an interview can steer it in the wrong direction, even from the first point of contact. We suggest that you;
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early – arriving early will not only give you enough time to collect your thoughts, it will provide the breathing room you need to sign yourself in as well as navigate your way to the interview room
- Stand up to meet your interviewer – if you’re already seated when the interviewer enters the room, make sure you stand up straight to greet them, keeping eye contact as you address them
- Firm handshake – when you first engage with your interviewer, make sure to give them a firm handshake, looking into their eyes to show that you are enthusiastic to be there
- Thank them for their time – before the interview comes to a complete close, make sure you take a moment to thank your interviewer for their time and for considering your application
4. Not asking questions
Posing questions before the end of your interview is a great way to demonstrate that you’ve fully considered the position as well as your potential fit within the business. This is a step which should not be missed. Likewise, asking questions at the correct times throughout the interview will stimulate a natural flow of conversation, demonstrating your ability to think critically as well as naturally engage with stakeholders.