Serious Interview Faux Pas

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Not all job interviews go perfectly. Pre-interview jitters and nerves can lead to a few mistakes. Minor issues, like spilling a bit of coffee on your shirt just before you meet your interviewer, generally won’t keep you from getting a job. Some things, however, can end up irreparably damaging your chances, and you should avoid any of these faux pas during an interview:

– Talking too much. You have twice as many ears as mouths, and you might want to keep that in mind during your interview. Interviewers have a number of questions to ask, and you want to make sure that they get all the information they need out of you. Keep your answers as concise as possible. Otherwise, your interviewer may get the impression that you’re long-winded, unconfident, or self-involved.

– Embellishing your accomplishments. Assume that your interviewer will be able to fact-check every statement you make. Stick to the truth. Your interviewer will appreciate honesty over bombast.

– Badmouthing past employers. In general, criticizing previous employers ends up reflecting poorly on you. An interviewer may doubt your ability to identify and solve problems if you spend a lot of time complaining about the past rather than focusing on solutions you brought to the table.

– Not preparing. If a potential employer asks whether you’ve seen the company’s web site, your answer should always be yes. In addition, take time to think about how your skills and experiences could benefit the company. Be ready to give specific examples of projects, achievements, and professional challenges you’ve overcome as well. Rather than leaving the interviewer to figure out how you’d fit in at the company, present a clear blueprint of what you could do for the organization.

– Avoiding questions. Interviewers think hard about the questions they ask, and they want to get answers to those questions. Avoid the temptation to answer the question you wish they’d asked and instead give the best answer you can to the one presented to you. Interviewers aren’t impressed with candidates who equivocate or pivot away from questions.

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