The 6 Biggest Interview Mistakes

 In Interviewing Strategies

The 6 Biggest Interview MistakesGiven the fact that there are roughly three job seekers for every opening, you are doing well to make it to the interview stage in your job search.  But of course you still need to ace the interview before you will be offered the position.

Here are a few of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make in the interview:

1) Disrespect the receptionist. It is easy for job seekers to ignore the fact that they are being evaluated even in the waiting area. Most people would never think of the receptionist being an interviewer, but it’s true. It’s fairly common that the receptionist will report back to the hiring manager how candidates behaved in the waiting area. Don’t be remembered as the one who ate all the candy out of the candy dish or spoke disrespectfully to the receptionist.

2) Forget to turn off your cell phone. Another faux pas for some job seekers is that they forget to turn off their cell phones before the interview. Having your phone ring during an interview can disrupt the interview and make you look unprofessional, especially if you have a loud ring tone that the interviewer may not appreciate.

3) Not researching the company thoroughly. A very commonly asked interview question is, “What do you know about our company?” Job seekers who have not done their homework are unprepared to answer this question. Hiring managers want to know that interviewees are interested in their open positions, not simply that the interviewees want a job, any job. Doing your research on a company can pay off when you are able to speak knowledgeably about the company and how you can best contribute to that organization.

4) Not being able to answer commonly asked questions. There is a tremendous amount of information on the Internet about questions that employers frequently ask. A job seeker can easily find out what these questions are along with coaching points on how to best answer them. There is no excuse for an interviewee not being able to answer questions like, “How would your co-workers describe you?” or “What are your weaknesses?”

5) Being unaware of body language. Some job seekers unwittingly sabotage their interviews by not paying attention to how they come across. For example, some interviewees look down at the floor when they are answering questions or have a nervous twitch that is distracting.

6) Asking about salary. It is premature to ask about salary at the time of the interview. Job seekers can give the wrong impression to interviewers when they bring up the issue of salary. Of course job seekers should do their homework at find out what the going rate is for the type of work that they do, but it is not considered appropriate for job seekers to ask what the job pays during the interview.

Cheryl Palmer is a career expert who has regularly been quoted in The Ladders, the Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, and CNN Money.  She is a career coach, resume writer, and LinkedIn expert.  Download 5 Master Strategies to Land a Job Through Social Media at

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