Five Interview Turn-Offs That Can Cost You The Job
Via Forbes : Five Interview Turn-Offs That Can Cost You The Job
A job interview can feel like an audition or a performance. It can be a very scary meeting, especially if you haven’t job-hunted in a while.
You have to be ready for the rush of adrenaline that may flood your veins when you walk into a job interview, or when the interviewer asks you a difficult question. You may panic in that moment.
When we get anxious, we can start to ramble. We may hear the words falling out of our mouths and think “What am I even talking about?”
The cure for interview nerves is practice. Sign up your friends to mock-interview you. Get used to answering interview questions. Practice them until you feel comfortable answering them (there’s a list of likely interview questions at the end of this column).
Keep breathing. That will help your jitters. Keep in mind that if this is the right job for you, then it will work out. Try to stay in your body rather than getting out of yourself and critiquing your ‘performance.’
You have no idea what the interviewer is expecting, or how to impress them — so forget about impressing them!
If your nerves get the best of you, you may fall victim to one of these five interview turn-offs that can lose you the job offer even when you’re qualified.
Five Interview Turn-Offs That Can Cost You The Job
2. Not listening to the interview (in your haste to respond)
3. Falling into “I’ve done that!” mode
4. Shoving solutions at your interviewer
5. Offering weak “proof”
Let’s break down these interview-killers one by one.
Bragging is never appropriate, but your interview nerves may get you to brag about yourself without meaning to. Instead of telling us how wonderful you are or how much praise you’ve received, tell us what you care about and what you’ve learned in your career so far.
If you catch yourself bragging without intending to (for instance, saying “I was one of the best employees in my department”) back out of it by saying “What I mean is that I loved that job and learned a lot.”
A common problem for job-seekers is that they’re so intent on answering the interviewer’s question that they fail to listen to the question.
You can take time to contemplate your answer before you speak. Focus on your interviewer and listen to every word they say. Only begin to compose your interview answer when the interviewer has stopped speaking.
If you need to, say “That’s a great question! I’m going to take a second to think about it before I answer.” Good interviewers will appreciate that you took that moment rather than blurting out the first thought that entered your mind.
When the interviewer begins to describe the job, it’s tempting to burst in with “I’ve done that!” and “I’ve done that, too!” but those statements are not convincing. If you want to let the interviewer know that you understand what the company is dealing with, tell a story instead!
It is great to show the interviewer how well you’ve handled situations before, but it isn’t helpful to shove solutions at your interviewer.
Until you’ve asked a lot of questions (and sometimes even then) you may not fully understand the situations your possible new employer is facing. Don’t toss out solutions to problems that your interviewer hasn’t named as problems.
Unfortunately, many job-seekers will jump in with unsolicited advice and throw the interview off track, like this:
Interviewer: So, in the Client Service department we take care of our customers by checking on their orders, expediting shipments and generally making sure they have what they need. For instance –
Candidate: Do you send them holiday gift cards?
Interviewer: We might. I’m not really sure
Candidate: Oh, you should! I did that at my last job.
Interviewer: Okay. So anyway, we assign our Client Service reps by region. The region you’d be managing is the Eastern region, which includes Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Candidate: They’re all in the Eastern time zone. Do you schedule conference calls for the customers’ convenience?
Interviewer: I imagine so.
Candidate: Because it’s really impolite if you don’t.
Interviewer: That makes sense.
Candidate: I have a great webinar provider that I’ve used in case you put on customer webinars. They’re a great vendor. They’re amazing.
Interviewer: That is good to know.
This candidate is not winning any points in their interview. They are so determined to make suggestions that they are hardly listening to the interviewer.
A more thoughtful candidate would ask questions like “What are some of the issues that customers have difficulty with?” and “How do Client Service reps interact with the sales team?”
You won’t have a more successful interview by interjecting disconnected observations more often.
Instead, ask yourself “What is the Business Pain lurking behind the job ad?” and ask questions about that pain, instead of making suggestions that may be far off the mark.
In a job interview, “proof” is story-based evidence that you understand how to do something — and why and when to do it, as well.
If your interviewer asks you “What do you know about using Excel?” the worst possible answer you can give is “Tons!”
Instead, tell a story about a time when you used Excel to solve a problem at work.
Tell the interviewer how you learned Excel and how you taught someone else to use it. Tell them about the complexity of the reports you created and why those reports were important to your company. Stories are all about context. We want to know the details!
Here are 15 common interview questions to practice answering in your mock interviews:
1. What made you apply for this job?
2. What have you learned about our company?
3. Why are you looking for a job now?
4. What is your greatest career accomplishment so far?
5. What questions do you have about the job?
6. How does this job relate to other jobs you’ve held? What does this job seem to have in common with your past positions?
7. What’s your five-year plan?
8. If you are hired for this job, what will your ‘attack plan’ be? How would you approach this assignment?
9. Based on what you’ve heard so far, what would you imagine the most challenging parts of the job to be?
10. Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge.
11. What are your strengths?
12. What do you hope to learn in this job?
13. What would your former boss and co-workers say about you?
14. Why did you pursue the career path that you chose?
15. Who was your best manager so far, and why?
Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.
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