So, you've made it to the interview stage. That means you're one step closer to obtaining the job you’re excited about! Perhaps you’ve even prepped and can confidently avoid the most obvious interview mistakes.
BUT, have you considered that there are little things that you may not catch yourself doing that can sabotage your whole interview? There are overlooked nuances in our presentation that have as much of a negative impact on our chances of proceeding in the hiring process than those much more obvious to avoid.
Let take a look at the mistakes that are so minute that we don’t realize that it affects our call back rate:
1. Avoiding Eye Contact – Interviews can be intimidating – primarily because you aren’t in the driver’s seat. Your nerves can be overwhelming when doubt and fear start speak
louder than your faith and confidence. As a result, you may try to hide your fears by
not giving direct eye contact.
Why is this costly? This says to the interviewer that you may be hiding something. The hint of deception will give them immediate pause about you. It also signals to them that you’re not interested.
Overcome it: Instead of giving energy to your nerves, focus on mirroring the
interviewer’s energy. Are they calm? Then you give a calm energy. Are they energetic?
Then you project the same. When you transfer the focus from yourself to sharing the
same frequency with the interviewer, it forces you to pay more attention to them which
results in more eye contact.
2. A Funky Face – Most interviewees are so busy in their heads that they're unaware of
what’s on their faces. You can give either a blank look or an off-putting expression as a
result of those nerves again. Although you may be just concentrating, you're giving the
Why is this costly? It makes the interviewer uncomfortable and it makes you
unapproachable. They can only guess what your expression is really saying. My aunt
almost lost an opportunity because of a face she made. Luckily, her friend had an
executive position at the company and was able to override the manager's initial
decision not to hire her. If the interviewer feels uncomfortable in the interview, it tells
them that they’ll be uncomfortable working with you.
Overcome it: Be aware of your expressions by seeing them for yourself. Spend time in
your mirror to identify your neutral face, your smile, and your serious face. Note what
energy it exudes and focus on making adjustments to your neutral and serious face
that relieves tension and frowning.
3. Vague Responses – As a person who has interviewed people, this is the biggest red
flag that will make me immediately discount a candidate. Brevity in your responses is
ideal because interviewers have a short attention span. However, they still need
enough information to gauge if you would be successful in the role.
Why is this costly? Providing vague responses or examples tells the interviewer that
you don’t want to answer, you’re uncomfortable answering, or you’re not equipped to
answer. Either presumption makes your credibility questionable.
Overcome it: If the question they ask you is unclear, ask the interviewer to give you
more detail. There’s no shame in getting clear. If the question is clear, ensure your
responses address the who, what, when, why, and how of the scenario.
4. Not Genuinely Answering “What are your weaknesses?” – You’re human which means
that no matter your expertise, you’re still imperfect. The interviewers know that too.
Therefore, it’s a bad idea to pretend that you don’t have any weaknesses.
Why is this costly? It’s fake. Interviewers will recognize that you’re not being genuine.
Who wants to work with someone like that?
Overcome it: Decide which weakness you will share BEFORE the interview. Ensure that
you share examples of how you’re working through or offsetting the effects of this
weakness. Also, don’t share one that's a definite business no-no such as tardiness.
5. Reacting When You're Caught Off Guard – Interviewers like to mix it up. They want
to see how you will react in uncertain situations. Although they may throw surprise
questions your way, you can still respond with grace and lightness instead of showing
Why is this costly? Sitting in a state of shock and fumbling around for an answer shows
that you can’t roll with the punches and keep up the momentum when things change.
Companies are constantly shifting to meet the needs of the market. You have to show
that you can still serve despite your comfort level.
Overcome it: Make light of the situation. They know that they’re question is out of the
box. Ask clarifying questions if need be, but in your response, describe how you would
solve the problem. This takes the awkwardness of out the air and eases the
conversation back to a comfortable place.
Interviewing is a naturally uneasy situation for the interviewee but remember that it’s just a conversation. Both you and the interviewer have a need to be filled. One is not better than the other.
Have you done one of these mistakes? No shame! Let me know about it in the comments.