Landing a job interview is hard. But, making the right first impression is harder. You may have prepared well for your interview, but why wasn’t it enough to get you the job?
Here’s a list of 7 common interview gaffes to look out for and rectify.
- Dressing inappropriately
You don’t need to wear a suit but looking professional is important. Even if the organization you’re interviewing with has a culture where you could go to work in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, it doesn’t harm to wear fitted jeans a tucked in shirt for your interview. The idea is to look presentable and sharp. It’s also okay to check with Human Resources or the hiring manager on how people dress.
- Seeming too nervous
Apart from your skills and expertise, a hiring manager will also observe non-verbal cues including your body language. How do you look positive, confident, and in control? Ask your friend to mock-interview you so you can observe your gestures such as eye contact, facial expressions etc. and work on them.
- Not being prepared to answer questions you’d rather avoid
It’s common to worry about answering questions about a gap year, or a career change, or having been laid off. The key is to prepare more than one answer and be ready for any follow-ups to avoid surprises and answer smart.
For example, if you were laid off, focus on the positives of that event. You could say: “Like many of my colleagues, I lost my job when the company downsized. But it has given me time to reflect on my skills and identify new growth opportunities.”
- Not knowing the answer to “Why should we hire you?” (and other obvious questions)
Practice some of the most common and predictable questions. Prepare your answers and rehearse them with a friend or family member. This’ll not just avoid last-minute interview jitters, but also help you build your confidence.
- Not asking follow-up questions
Remember that you’re not the not only one being evaluated, you are also evaluating the employer. Asking relevant questions is a great way to show your recruiters that you are inquisitive and engaged in the conversation. You can ask questions like “What does a typical workday look like for this role?” or “How do you measure growth and success for this role?”
According to a new research by Harvard Business School professors, people who ask follow-up questions are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation, and care.
- Talking about money before you’ve been given an offer
Don’t discuss money until it’s the right time – which is usually after you’ve been offered the job. If you’re asked about salary expectations, keep it short and open-ended. You can say “My expectations are negotiable” or “This is how much I am making right now, but I understand the position I’m being interviewed for is different.”
- Not sending a thank-you note
Do you think you nailed the interview? Or, not sure if you made the right impression? Either way, write a thank-you note to the recruiters and restate your interest in the position. It’s also a good practice to ask about the next steps to be taken, if you haven’t already been informed.
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