You thought you nailed your last interview. You thought you made a great first impression. You totally answered all the tough interview questions they threw at you, asked them interesting and smart questions. And when they asked you if you had anything to add, you totally had stuff to add.
This video by Fastcompany highlights the most common mistakes people make at job interviews. See, there’s what you say during a job interview, and then there’s what they hear.
Often in interviews, generic answers do not go down well. Your responses to questions are going to be interpreted, and any deviation from what your interviewer wants to hear might reflect poorly on you during the interview. This doesn’t mean they are inherently impossible to master; they just require a little careful thinking and planning. Remember—when going into an interview, the worst thing you can do is come unprepared!
You say: “Sorry I’m late, there was so much traffic.”
This might be true. You never know when it comes to public transportation. I habitually leave way earlier than I have to and am still sometimes late because the 4 and 5 trains decide to break down for 30 minutes. But this doesn’t matter, because
They hear: “I just don’t care about your time!”
It sucks. But what can you do? Just don’t be late.
You say: “What happened with my last job? They didn’t know how to take advantage of my skills.”
Yes, this is a very tricky question to answer. You don’t want to badmouth your old company—but truth be told, your unhappiness is actually why you are looking for a new job right now. However, when you say something like this,
They hear: “I have no useful skills.”
Yeah, this is not good. Here are some great tips to help you prepare for a job interview.
You say: “My biggest flaw is my perfectionism.”
When we are asked this type of question, our first instinct is to paint one of our positives as a negative so it won’t reflect badly on us, but the problem is that
They hear: ”My biggest flaw is that I am a liar.”
The best way to handle is question is to first identify an actual weakness and be honest about it, but also talk about how you are working to conquer that weakness. This type of question is actually less about your actual skills, and more about your character.
You say: “Do I have any questions for you? Yes, what’s your vacation policy like?”
Don’t! Just don’t ask this question, no matter how innocently you ask…
They hear: “I can’t wait to not be at my new job!”
You only start talking about benefits when you’ve actually been offered the job.
You say: “I am a team player and a people person.”
Although it’s fine to mention that you are a team player and work well with others, always make sure to back up this assertion with examples, or else it just sounds cliché.
They hear: “all I have to offer you are clichés.”
Quick note…If you are watching this at work…make sure to turn down the volume or use your headphones!
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