Common Pitfalls of an Interview

Published:   April 18, 2013

Common Pitfalls of an Interview

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

– The Rolling Stones, 1969

A job interview is the last step towards attaining your dream job. Do well and you’ll reap the benefits of all your hard work and dedication. But, you can’t always get what you want. Make a costly mistake and you might be another prospective employee heading out empty-handed.

Many of us exert too much pressure on ourselves to “wow” the interviewer that the stress to perform well becomes overwhelming.

Unintentional mistakes may result, impeding even the most well-intentioned candidate’s path toward career advancement.

We’re all familiar with the common missteps of interview subjects:

  1. The cell phone blaring in your pocket;
  2. Falling asleep during the interview (more common than you may think!); or
  3. Seeming unprepared to answer the most basic of questions (i.e. where you previously worked, your name, etc.).

To quickly answer: these are not great ways to ingratiate yourself to your employer!

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Oops road signThere are also stories – taken from a Washingtonian article full of comically unpleasant interview gaffes – of a candidate taking a call in the middle of the interview and asking if the interviewer could kindly leave the room. Another interviewee was so nervous he spit his gum into the face of the recruiter during the handshake portion.

Scott Langerman – an interviewer for Comcast SportsNet – explains about an interview where the interviewee forgot to wear black socks. Instead of normal fixes for the situation, the interviewee decided to colour his ankles with a black felt-tip marker. It happened to be Scott’s favourite interview ever!

It could even be worse. How so, you ask? Prior to an interview, one applicant sent their resume through email to an employer. The applicant received a short email explaining that their attachment had contained a virus which infected the entire office space! Needless to say, the applicant wasn’t invited in for an interview.

How to Ace the Job Interview

Seeing the mistakes of the past – both common and those slightly more uncommon (read: hilarious) – can assist you in moving toward a more successful interview outcome. It’s also important not only to understand the mistakes of others, but to know what is expected as well.

By successfully preparing for any eventualities, you will gain the confidence to answer even the toughest of questions.

To that end, ABC News offers an article exploring 5 key questions you’ll most likely be asked:

  • How to prepare;
  • How to answer;
  • How to impress the interviewer(s) with your winning responses.

For executive-level applicants, CIO.com offers a great article for higher level candidates looking for a leg up during the interview process. And of course, there are many more sites, articles, books, and self-help guides out there for interested candidates of all levels!

Practice, preparation, confidence, and a tiny bit of luck thrown in are the necessary ingredients for you to ace your next job interview. So, head in with a winning posture, hurdle any potential pitfalls, and realize that your dream job may be closer than you ever thought possible. If you make a mistake, it most likely won’t be half as bad as some of the ones you’ve just read about!

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