Mistake no. 1: You are clueless about the company
… and about the person interviewing you and while we’re at it, what did they say their name was again? Open mouth, insert foot!
How to avoid it: Stalk the company, stalk the founder, CEO, employees, possible colleagues, and the interviewer on LinkedIn, their blog, their website, and all social media pages. If the information is public you should know about it. And you should be able to summarize in 2 sentences what the company does! Practice before 😉 Or… RUN!
Mistake no. 2: You’re not yourself during the interview
You sound exactly like the job description for the position you’re applying for, possibly even practiced raising one eyebrow in the mirror.
How to avoid it: Just don’t – a recruiter’s job is to see straight through BS, and they can tell when something is off. Just be yourself, that way you make sure you’re a perfect fit for the culture if you get the job.
Mistake no. 3: You’re late
This seems like a no-brainer but you’ll be surprised how many candidates are actually late! Couldn’t find parking, didn’t know the metro stop, didn’t know media city was so far from Sharjah, or simply no comment!
How to avoid it: Make sure you know the exact location. Take a taxi to avoid those attractive adrenaline sweat stains you get when sprinting in the heat. And most importantly – if you’re running late, call the person you have the interview with and let them know. Nothing worse than wasting time waiting for a meeting to never happen.
Mistake no. 4: You’ve got some bad things to share
Your last boss was a control freak, micro manager, you didn’t get that promotion you wanted and someone kept stealing your stapler? There’s no space for petty problems and negativity in an interview.
How to avoid it: Rather focus on the positives, share which experiences you enjoyed in your last job, highlight that you’re ready for the next step and if the opportunity arises, describe your perfect manager. The interviewer is likely to see how you’ve learned what matters to you from a negative experience and will probably give you kudos for remaining professional.
Mistake no. 5: It’s not about the money…
Although the Joker is an unlikely candidate in pretty much any interview, he does have a point. Don’t bring up the salary when you’re in an interview, it’s much more important the position and the company culture is a good fit.
How to avoid it: Only mention salary expectations when asked by the interviewer. If you’re invited for an interview, chances are the recruiter already knows your salary range and expectation and will match it – or alert you if the position is too junior for you.
Mistake no. 6: You’re not aware of the culture
This is a tricky one, but let’s say this much – different cultures have different habits, a handshake might be acceptable or not.
How to avoid it: Observe and mirror your interviewer, if they initiate a handshake, they are probably ok with it.
Mistake no. 7: Having a bit of an attitude issue
Being overly confident, criticizing the company’s direction or being negative about the status quo.
How to avoid it: Be confident in your skills and in what you have learned, but not over confident. Answer questions asked honestly but try to remain a bit humble. Also, nobody likes a smartass 😉
Mistake no. 8: You’re interviewing the interviewer
Easy: Don’t try to steer the conversation, no matter how much your mum told you that you’re an excellent conversationalist (she liked that just as much as the painting that looked like a bear and turned out to be a flower).
How to avoid it: Answer questions in enough detail but not too much, you wanna make sure everybody present is still awake when you stop speaking. And wait for your turn to ask questions, usually at the end of the interview, you should probably have so much patience.
Bonus: Make your questions to the interviewer count. Ask about expansion plans, recent press releases, current campaigns or get more information on the company culture and the team you’ll be working with.