You’ve hit send and just like that, your CV and cover letter have been sent off into a virtual land to meet with hundreds of other CVs and cover letters. But something amazing has happened – your CV stood out from the pack and has earned you a call-back. Congratulations, you’ve got an interview!
Before you start imagining how you’re going to spend your first paycheque, remember, you still need to make a strong impression on interview day. The top mistakes outlined below will help you know what to avoid on interview day, and how to make a great impression.
5 Job Interview Mistakes
1. Show up late
This one is a no-brainer! Being late to a job interview is a straight up no-no, in fact, we advise you to be at least 10-15 minutes early. Spend some time before planning your commute and always add an extra buffer of time for unexpected delays and to avoid you arriving frazzled.
2. Be vague
Now is not the time to shy away and give short answers to questions. Show what you can do and how much knowledge you have. Elaborate and give relevant examples – being sincere, authentic and engaging will help you better connect with your interviewer/s and leave a lasting impression.
3. Lie about your experience
Of course everyone wants to give the best impression during a job interview and talk themselves up, however, it’s important to know the difference between dressing up facts a little and making them up altogether, because eventually, the truth will prevail.
Whether you’re considering fibbing about a former employer or a set of skills you claim to be an expert in – just don’t do it. If you don’t get found out during the interview stage there’ll be some sort of awkward slip up once you start working there and your not so high level of expertise in Excel (for example) will become apparent.
4. Forget what’s on your resume
Know your resume! Brush up on your work history, reflect and prepare some examples of achievements you think will be relevant to the role you’re interviewing for. You’ll inevitably be asked about your previous work accomplishments, so being able to recall situations that are relevant and well thought out (without the awkward silence or time-buying sip of water) will have your interviewers putting a big fat tick next to your name.
5. Rant about your former workplace
If/when asked about your former workplace, do not under any circumstance see this as an opportunity to raise stories about how terrible your boss was and all the office politics. Keep it professional! Failing to do so will leave you looking emotionally immature and a gossiper – not a great first impression. If you left on not-so-great terms still try and focus on the positives and what you did gain from that job.
5 Job Interview Musts
1. Do your research
Simply reading over the job ad isn’t enough when it comes to preparing for an interview. Look over the company’s website, LinkedIn page, the news and whatever else you can find.
Look out for the history of the business, how old it is, clients, number of employees, competitors, company benefits, office location/s, services offered and the hierarchy structure. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to demonstrate your business acumen; ask intelligent, informed questions; and impress the interviewer with your gusto.
2. Dress the part
Having your CV and cover letter on point is what got you here, now you need to ensure you present yourself just as well. First impressions count and what you wear to a job interview is important. A great outfit can empower you, boost your confidence levels, and help you make a killer first impression.
Remember to dress appropriately for the role you are applying for. Going for a position in a coffee shop is a lot different to applying for a role in a law firm. Stalk the company’s social media posts, check out their website or better yet, ask around. If you’re not 100% sure, remember it’s always better to be slightly overdressed than under-dressed.
3. Prepare your answers to their questions
It all comes down to this… this is your time to really shine, your opportunity to show the company that you have what it takes to do the job! The interviewer will want to suss out what you can bring to the position, including your particular skills, knowledge and experiences. They’ll also want to get some idea about your character to assess whether you’re the right person for the job and if you’ll mesh well with the company’s culture.
There are a number of standard questions that’ll come up over and over again in interviews, so it is possible to plan your answer for these. You don’t need to write down your full spiel (this could end up sounding inauthentic), simply jot down dot points of what you’d like to say or highlight.
4. Have questions you want to ask in the interview
To close the deal, you need to ask the right questions of your interviewer. Remember this is a two-way street, you want them to like you, but you always want to be sure this is a place you’re happy to work. The questions that you ask are as important as how you have answered the questions. This is your chance to get more insight into what the role and the company are like, and, in turn, whether both will be a good fit for you.
5. Send a follow-up
The interview is over… now what? You put your best foot forward during the interview, now its time for the cherry on top – the perfect follow-up email! This part can be short, sweet and just a subtle reminder of what a great candidate you are.
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