Recently Amy Brownstein, of Brownstein Strategic Brand Relations, was interviewing to fill an account executive position at the firm. The candidate arrived 35 minutes late, didn’t bring a printed copy of her resume, and started off the interview, after apologizing for being late, by explaining how she “used to always be late, and not be committed to the job but she’s changed.” As you probably guessed by now, she didn’t get the job. Even in this highly competitive job market job, otherwise qualified job candidates do things that virtually ensure that they won’t be hired. Here as some common mistakes that should be avoided.
BECOMING DEFENSIVE WHEN ASKED A DIFFICULT QUESTION: Peter Ocko, a recruiter with Major, Lindsey & Africa, a search firm specializing in the placement of attorneys, points out that: “one of the most egregious errors I see candidates make is an overreaction to the “why are you leaving” question.” According to Peter, “candidates often defend their current employer too vigorously, which raises the “why are you here interviewing” question or they use it as an opportunity to go too negative on the current situation, painting themselves as a malcontent.” A good answer to that question provides “a balanced narrative as to why this new job is a great next step given accomplishments so far.” The key to answering tough questions, without becoming defensive, is to prepare for them.
Avoiding these common mistakes won’t guarantee that you will get every job that you interview for. However, learning the dos and the don’ts of effective interviewing will greatly increase the likelihood that you will get a good job that you are well suited to fill.