Interviews. The epitome of the nightmare that comes when applying for a job. Yes, interviews can be terrifying. But do they actually need to be?
On the bright side, an interview is usually a good sign. Even just getting an interview in some places is worthy of big congratulations. But it’s also important to not lose sight of the end result.
An interview determines a lot of things; not just for the employer, but for you as a candidate too. Whilst it is a meeting for the company to analyse more about you, it’s also an opportunity for you to get a vibe of the place, and to ask any questions relating to the role.
If you view it as more of a formal meeting rather than an interrogation, your mind-set will be much more at peace, and you can focus on the task at hand rather than letting the nerves eat you up.
Most of us know the obvious rules of an interview; dress to impress, sit up straight, engage with a positive approach and ask appropriate questions. But what about the colossal mistakes that you should steer clear of at all costs?
- Giving one-word answers
Giving a one-worded answer to a pivotal interview question is a bit like jumping out of a plane without a parachute – it’s a self-sacrifice that can be easily avoided by using a little common sense. Answering merely ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any question in any interview is never an option. Even if the question you’ve been asked is a closed question. You should always be reminding yourself to expand on your answers, even if only a little. Giving a one-word answer will suggest that you’re disinterested and lazy; so don’t fall into this trap.
- Waffling about previous employers
Most companies want an overview of your last role and what your responsibilities were. However, what they don’t want is to hear the lifetime sagas about your relationships with your former co-workers or your boss. If you spend valuable time waffling on about how you didn’t quite gel with your last manager, or you thought they were the greatest company in the world to work for, you are bound to give off the wrong impression. When it comes to your previous jobs, keep it short, concise and positive.
- Being clueless
A lack of research about the company or the role will leave you feeling unprepared. You need to be fully up-to-date on the company’s presence in the current industry and you should ensure that you fully understand the role on offer. In what way will you fit into the organisations structure? What can you bring to the team? An understanding at this level puts you in a position where you can demonstrate how you can meet the job requirements.
- Being tardy
There are zero genuine excuses for being late to an interview. It’s also the worst possible way to create a first impression on the employer. Being late suggests that you’re sloppy, lazy and not at all serious about the job in question. Even if it takes days to plan your commute, it’s necessary. Do a practice run to the location a couple of days before; and leave yourself a few hours on the day to make the journey. Even if you get there embarrassingly early, you can relax in a nearby coffee shop and do some extra prep.
- Being a robot
Not allowing yourself to transform into a regurgitating robot is an essential skill to master. In any interview, there is such a thing as being too corporate. You should always try to find a healthy balance between professionalism and being laidback. No employer wants to sit and talk to a machine; nor do they want to feel like they’re entertaining a best friend. When appropriate, you can have a bit of a laugh and a joke with your interviewer – but just be aware to bring it back to business when needed.