Correct Common Interview Mistakes

You’ve done your research on the company, practiced answering tough interview questions, dry-cleaned your best suit and printed a fresh copy of your fine-tuned resume and portfolio. Everything is in place for you to ace that upcoming interview. But then, once you’re in the hot seat, the worst-case scenario comes screeching into reality.

The interview process can bring with it uncertainty when you stumble on a tough question, give the wrong response or blank out completely on a question asked by the hiring manager. When this happens, you're certain that you may have just blown any chance of landing that job that you've worked so hard to get.

You may want throw in the towel at this point and do your best to end the interview, erase the entire experience from your mind and move on. Before you take that option, consider the possibility that you might still be able to not only salvage your chances, but even look good doing it. Some of the following techniques can be made mid-interview, while others can be applied after the interview.

Interview Mistakes And Ways To Recover From Them

1.) You Can't Think Of a Response

This can happen to anyone: That well-rehearsed answer you delivered so eloquently during your practice sessions before your interview disappears from your mind when you’re seated across from an intimidating hiring manager.

When this paralyzing brain freezing situation happen to you, don't panic! Calmly utilize this technique to gather your thoughts and words you need for your answer.

Ask the hiring manager to clarify the question. This will give you some precious time to regroup. Ask for time to think about the question. There is nothing wrong with a candidate who is taking the interview seriously and wants to think before giving an answer. Try to say something. Better that you deliver a partial answer than nothing. If you absolutely are drawing a blank, ask if you come back to the question later.

You can mostly avoid this problem if you are well prepared and practiced prior to your interview. Good preparation will go a long ways to prevent you from drawing a blank during your interview. Also, good preparation and research into the organization prior to your interview, can help you to improvise and adapt when necessary.

2.) Delivering a Clichéd Response

You may think that using a cliché would make you look witty and creative, but the reality is the opposite. It makes you appear to be lazy and generic.

Sometimes during the interview process, we may be stumbled with a question that we weren't prepared for and that could bring an inadvertent clichéd response.

If you find that youve used a cliché as an interview crutch, you’ll likely realize it as soon as the words tumble out of your mouth. For example, terms like “team player” and “people person” or self motivated are used so often that they’ve lost any meaning.

If you feel comfortable doing so, try to make a light joke of it; “I bet you’ve never heard that one before,” and then elaborate with a more creative, personalized response.

You can also say this to the interviewer: This opportunity means more to me than that answer that I've just given. Please allow me to elaborate. Answer again, this time from your heart. Follow with a more personalized and thoughtful response that caters to the organization and position that you're interviewing for. A good hiring manager will appreciate your honest effort and more sincere, genuine reply.

3.) Calling The Interviewer/Company By The Wrong Name

If you’re interviewing with multiple firms and people from various departments, this is an understandable slip. While it may seem mortifying at first, all may not be lost. Recover quickly by apologizing for the error, chalking it up to nerves and excitement about the opportunity, and then move on.

Remember, the more attention you bring to the mistake, the bigger the problem you unnecessarily make of it for both your interviewer and yourself.

4.) Not Knowing Enough About The Company

A question like this can throw you for a loop. The prospective employer fires this Tell me the most important things about my company at you during the interview, can catch you off guard. Perhaps because you aren't well prepared or the unexpected bluntness of the question, whatever the reason, you're left stuttering and was able to only muster a pathetic summary.

Back home, after your interview, immediately read as much as you can find about the organization. In your thank-you email, apologize for the lackluster response to that question and include a quick list of the most impressive things you've learned.

5.) Talking Negatively About a Previous Employer

Even if you have every right to be upset with your nightmare of a former boss, a job interview is not the place to air those grievances.

Complaints will send up red flags in the employer’s mind, making him or her wonder if you might be responsible for the negativity and bring it to the new role. Unless there was a unique situation that’s necessary to explain, leave your venting at the door.

If you must explain a negative situation (layoffs, boss getting fired, budget cuts, etc.), prepare neutral language in advance so you won’t be caught off-guard.

If you happen to let some not-so-nice words fly, take steps to try to put a positive spin on the experience (“I’m eager to tackle new challenges and use what I’ve learned to add value to this position,” etc.).

6.) Missing An Opportunity To Talk Yourself Up Or Point Out Your Achievements

Sometimes the perfect answer doesn't come to mind until after the interview. Fortunately, this is something you can easily fix. After your interview, while you're still fresh in the employer's mind, address it in your thank-you email.

After the standard message of appreciation and restatement of interest in the position, circle back to the specific question and follow up with your relevant accomplishments and qualifications. Send the email no later than 24 hours after your interview.

7.) Not Dressing As Professionally As The People Who Interviewed You

Ideally, you’ve followed advice about what to wear for a job interview and shown up in polished, professional attire. But according to an industry survey of more than 100 hiring managers, many millennials make the mistake of wearing “inappropriate attire" to their interviews. If you realize you’ve made a fashion faux pas after arriving, work extra hard to show your professionalism and seriousness in your answers and body language. Then, make sure to dress more appropriately if you’re lucky enough to score a second interview.

8.) Not Silencing Your Cell Phone and Getting A Call During the Interview

Silencing your cell phone is as important as arriving on time for your interview and thanking your interviewer for his or her time. With so much on your mind in this busy world that we live in, it's understandable that you may have forgotten.

The important thing is to act quickly to silence the ringer if this happens, and whatever you do, DON'T answer it.
Immediately apologize for the interruption and pick up right where you left off. It would be logical to assume that after this, you won't likely to repeat this mistake again. Note it on your future pre-interview checklist.

9.) Not Asking Any Good Questions During Your Interview

Most interviewers will see this as a sign that you lack interest in the company and the position. It makes it look as though you are rushing to get out of the interview as quickly as possible.

Avoid this by having prepared ahead, several insightful questions to ask. Prepare enough questions to cover those that may have been answered during the course of the interview. Try putting a different, fresh spin on your questions.

You should also jot down impromptu questions that occur to you during the conversation, saving them for the inevitable time when the employer asks you for some. And, if all else fails, use your thank you note to reinforce your interest in the position and mention some aspects of the company or role that you’d like to learn more about.

10.) Not Having A Strong Closing

In most interviews, the candidate has a chance to deliver a “closing statement” of sorts. Use this priceless opportunity to get in the last word and leave the interviewer with a favorable impression of you.

As the conversation wraps up, restate your strong interest in the company, what you can bring to the position, touch on why you think you’re a great fit, and ask about the next steps in the hiring process. Don’t forget to ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can follow up with a thank-you email.

Final Thoughts

The best way to prevent these potential interview disasters is to anticipate them ahead of time and be armed with effective solutions to correct them, either mid-conversation or after the interview. Remember, there is no solution better to acing your interview, than good advanced research and preparation.

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