Interviews can be tricky situations. You may be extremely qualified for a position, have done your homework and be feeling confident; then you don’t hear back, and you’re left wondering what went wrong. According to Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, research shows most interviews go south because of simple blunders, not lack of qualifications. These are some of the simple mistakes that may be costing you the job.
Being Late (Even With a Great Reason)
As a professional engineer, you know you should always arrive early for an interview. But sometimes, things happen, like traffic accidents. However, walking in late, even if you have a great excuse, will start things off in a negative light. To hedge against traffic issues, always check apps like Google Maps and Waze before you leave the house and plan to be 30 minutes early to the interview. You can sit in your car or go to a nearby café to kill the extra time.
Neglecting Your Research
One of the most common complaints of hiring managers is candidates don’t conduct company research. Hiring managers are looking to hire people who are enthusiastic about the company. If you don’t know what they do, what they are known for, their culture and mission, how can you really say you’re excited about working there? Spend time researching the company by studying their website and social media profiles and searching for news stories about them.
Failing to Practice
If you get caught off guard by every question the hiring manager asks; if you say, “uh,” and, “um,” and need several moments to collect your thoughts before answering every question, you probably won’t land the job. Even if your eventual answers are home runs, the fact you have to stop and think makes you seem unprepared and could possibly lead some hiring managers to believe you’re making things up as you go. It is important to practice interviewing with friends, family and a recruiter so you’re fully prepared to answer questions with confidence.
Talking in Clichés
When the hiring manager asks you to tell her about yourself, she’s looking for something a little more in-depth than “I’m a team player,” “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m a self-starter.” Clichés are vague and do nothing to differentiate you from your competition. Remember to show the interviewer, rather than telling her by using anecdotes and examples of the value you bring to the table. The right mix of stories from your experience can paint the picture you are a team player much more clearly than saying so directly.
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