Mistake #7: Responses were general and possibly
negative rather than behavior-based, positive or
There are three main styles of questions:
- Traditional Questions: These are more conversational. The interviewer might ask: Tell me about your last job or tell me about this point on your resume. Traditional questions are open-ended with a broad focus.
- Behavior-based Questions: These are more situational and very specific. An example of a behavioral-based question is: “Provide specific examples
of how you built cross functional-teams and explain how you helped the
teams achieve set objectives.” Behavior-based questions have become a
standard interview practice. So the moral of this story is: have strong
accomplishments on your resume and be prepared to explain what you
can do – not just what you know.
- Interpretive Questions. Candidates often describe these queries as “trick
questions.” They’re not. They’re questions designed to evaluate fit. There
are no “politically correct” answers. You can bet you’ll be asked two
questions in this category at every interview for the rest of time – the first
is, “What are your strengths?” The second is, “What are your
weaknesses.” Whatever your weakness, own up to it, but end on a
positive note. Here’s an example: “My weakness is organization, however
recognizing this, I continuously work on this area and see improvements.
Always be prepared and always be honest and positive in your answers.
Mistake #8 Unprepared for diverse interview approaches or steps in the process
Once your resume hits the streets or you start networking, you have to be ready,
willing and able to respond to employers and recruiters. Did you know that the
first step in the process these days is often a telephone screen? When you get
called, it’s not to set up a time to talk. It’s to talk.
Here’s how it works — A company will select individuals on the basis of their
resumes for a preliminary screening. A recruiter or hiring manager will phone to
evaluate initial criteria and determine if a personal meeting is worth the time. So,
you’ve got to make it good.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a professional message on
your voice mail on any and all phone numbers you have provided.
The other critical factor to phone screens is being prepared to answer some
tough questions like what is your salary requirement or how much are you willing
Companies use phone screens to efficiently work through potential “knock out
factors.” For instance, you might be a great candidate, but if you’re looking for
$80,000 a year and their budget is $30K, that would knock you out of the
Don’t make the mistake of hedging on information so you can stay in the game. If
you are an $80K earner, this job won’t come close to meeting your needs. That’s
why posting provide clues to potential opportunities. They won’t all be a fit.
Most traditional interviews are conducted as personal meetings. Your job is to try
and find out if you will be interviewed on a one-to-one basis or by a group.
Organizations with a strong team orientation will sometimes conduct group
interviews meaning that you will be interviewed by several people at once. Other
companies may want to have several people involved in the selection process,
but will elect a different strategy. In this case you may meet with each person in
separate, consecutive meetings. The way a company structures its interview
process could be based on its culture, work style, or availability/scheduling
Don’t get caught off guard. When they call to set up and interview, ask
- Who will I be meeting with? (If you get more then one name, ask if you will be meeting individually or as a group?)
- How much time should I plan on?
- What are the steps in your interview process?
Mistake #9: You or the potential employer were less
than professional in attitude, personality or honesty.
Want to get dumped fast. Just go in being confrontational, negative or dishonest.
Maybe you didn’t get along with your last boss. Find an honest, positive way to
provide the information if asked. Do you like to work autonomously and the boss
liked to micro-manage? You could say something like: “Due to different work
styles, my job was not always rewarding, but I always maintain professional
relationships at work and together we got the job done.
There is a reason companies conduct reference checks. Never lie or embellish
when sharing information. Not only will you knocked out of consideration, your
reputation can be damaged beyond repair.
No one wants to hire a victim or downer – but you don’t have to be treated like
one through the interview process.
Have you ever shown up for an interview only to be left waiting – like for a long
time? Have you ever gone into an interview that was constantly interrupted or the
interviewer was obviously distracted? Have you ever been treated rudely or with
disrespect? Did you know you have a choice to continue the meeting or bring it to
and end? Well you do.
In any of the scenarios I mentioned, consider the situation and act accordingly.
That might mean asking to reschedule the meeting or withdrawing from
consideration. You have a choice and a voice. You could say something like: “It
seems this isn’t a good time for our meeting. Why don’t we reschedule.”
Mistake #10 Minimized the importance of a good fit in
several critical areas
When you interview, be sure to delve beyond the required skills and
compensation package. We’ve all known people who thought they had found a
dream job but once employed, decided they must have died and gone to hell.
To really land the job of your dreams, find an opportunity where there is
compatibility in four key areas:
- Competencies – you have the skills and interests that are aligned with the
needs of the organization
- Culture – you and the organization share similar values and goals
- Chemistry – There is compatibility between you, your co-workers and the
people you report to in work style and expectations.
- Compensation – The compensation is within your requirements and
aligned with the industry and market.