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Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

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Your professional CV and attention-grabbing cover letter are landing you interviews with your target companies, yet somehow you are never able to make it past the interview stage. Make sure you are not suffering from the following career-blowing deficiencies.

Lack of Professionalism

You will not get a second chance to make a first impression so it is imperative that the way you look and act in the interview are in keeping with the professional context and not working against you.

  • Arrive at the interview on time. Nothing shows as much disrespect to the employer as arriving late and having no good reason for it. Aim to give yourself plenty of lead time; those precious minutes you spend waiting for the employer when you arrive early can be used to assimilate the new surroundings, read any company literature in the waiting area and get yourself in the right mood and frame of mind.
  • Arrive at the interview alone. This is not the time to bring along your children, spouse, domestic help or parents and it is surprising how many candidates bring along an uninvited significant other for moral support or other unjustifiable reasons.
  • Arrive properly dressed, perfectly groomed and with a professional smile and firm handshake that indicates you are happy to be there, happy to make the interviewer's acquaintance and mean business. There is plenty of literature available on dressing for the workplace so make sure you do not miss the mark. Dress conservatively and sensibly in a business suit that is not too tight or revealing and is appropriate for the industry you are interviewing for. Busy accessories, busy or revealing attire, attire that is too casual, or unclean, sloppy careless attire, excessive or inappropriate make-up will all send out the wrong message.
  • Bring extra copies of your CV in mint condition, and if relevant, your portfolio.
  • Be courteous. Listen to the interviewer attentively, smile politely and do not interrupt. Tailor your answers to the precise questions to show you are in fact listening and understanding all that is being said.
  • Watch your body language. Sit upright in the chair, maintain comfortable eye contact, smile and nod politely without staring the interviewer down or using aggressive, domineering, passive, bored, overly familiar or overly confident body language. Your voice, hand gestures and eye contact are all sending out signals to the interviewer; make sure you are aware of the impression you are making and that it is a professional and appropriate one. You need to come across as energetic, interested, confident, courteous, and happy to be there.

Lack of Preparation

If you are properly prepared, your answers and how you deliver them should be well rehearsed and very few if any questions should come as a surprise.

  • The interviewer is looking for the candidate who is most skilled, competent and generally appropriate in the context of a given job, company and industry and all your answers should be tailored accordingly. You should be very familiar with the skills and competencies the employer is looking for from your research activities and be able to demonstrate them in your answers.
  • You should know your CV inside out and support all your answers on personal strengths with directly relevant specific examples from your past work experiences and/or education.
  • You should be familiar with recent events in the company and conversant in industry trends and news if asked about them.
  • Avoid long rambling answers that do not specifically address the skills or experience in question. Be succinct and precise in the delivery of your response.
  • Don't forget to ask intelligent questions. Your questions should indicate that you have researched the company and industry thoroughly and are familiar with pressing issues and trends.

Lack of Interest

Your attitude can make or break the interview. Employers are looking for energetic professionals who will be positive and enthusiastic members of the team. Looking bored or tired or displaying lack of interest during the interview will work against you. Over-confidence, superiority, bragging or excessive name-dropping will also not go down well with the prospective employer. Negative comments about previous employers, bosses or peers are generally regarded negatively and you should refrain from them at any stage of the job search. Answer questions attentively, respectfully and in a manner that engages the employer and demonstrates your interest in the company and the job.

Lack of Honesty

Exaggerations and outright lies at the interview stage are more often than not glaringly obvious. Experienced employers will be more or less familiar with what the limits of your job would have been at your current or previous places of employment and will probably probe deep where they detect inconsistencies or fabrications. Make sure the dates and facts on your CV and cover letter are accurate and that your answers are brief, to the point and illustrate your strengths rather than weaknesses without resorting to lies.

Lack of Follow-Up

Many a potential job is lost by poor follow-up. Companies are interested in candidates who are interested in them and you need to reiterate and confirm this interest in a thank-you letter and diligent follow-up after the interview. Remember that employers are busy and may have been side-tracked from your application so don't assume it's over till you have received confirmation of the outcome of your application one way or another. Your first follow-up letter following an interview should thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate the skills, competencies and experiences that make you uniquely suitable for the job and give a time/date at which you will call the employer to follow up. More often than not, the employer is waiting for you to make that next move after the interview and your thank-you letter should be used to sell yourself again.

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Reader's Comments

1. zafer alzaeemنصائح ممتازة...............................
Thu 18-Jun-2015 10:40 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
2. IGNACIO CESAR MELO SCHWARZENBERGexcelente articulo te ayuda a la entrevista muy buenos cias
Thu 16-Apr-2015 14:13 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
3. Anas Al Maslamanithnx
Sun 12-Oct-2014 12:37 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
Tue 23-Apr-2013 21:53 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
5. Ehab Sami Bolisتحياتى وشكرى الخاص لكل القائمين على هذا العمل ..الله الموفق
Wed 29-Feb-2012 02:17 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
6. محمد إسماعيلthankyou for thies fresh information < before that idont know about thies funactions, thank for all,,, your dear,,,,,,,jazim
Wed 26-Jan-2011 15:51 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
7. Muhammad RafiuddinThese guidelines will help me while interviewing in a professional organization. Thank you for refreshing and preparing me for an interview.
Sun 23-Jan-2011 15:04 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
8. Ahmed AbdulrahmanIt,s very important advices thanks too much
Tue 30-Nov-2010 20:25 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
9. anas ahmadthank you very match....
Tue 20-Jul-2010 06:18 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
10. Nagraj AcharyaThis comment is very qualitative & informative.Directed how an employee can face the interview dress code how to avoid confusions, required attitude during the interview,overall a good suggestion.
Sun 18-Jul-2010 11:41 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
11. Mehdi Elfadilm Abd Alla Hassanاطلعت علي ما قدمتموه من نصائح فهي فعلا" مفيـدة ويمكن تطبيقها وأتمنى لكم وللباحثين عن عمل التوفيق والسـداد وجزاكم الله خيرا" ؛؛؛
Sun 18-Jul-2010 08:37 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
12. TANVEER AHMEDThese guidelines will help me while interviewing in a professional organization. Thank you for refreshing and preparing me for an interview.
Fri 16-Jul-2010 07:41 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
13. طارق على آدم مرسى محمد مراسنشكر كل القائمين على امر هذا الموقع ونتمنى لهم مزيد من التوفيق
Sat 17-Jan-2009 15:08 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
14. محمد الدوسريأشكر كل القائمين على الموقع وعلى كاتب هذه المعلومات بشكل خاص.والموقع خدمني كثيراً.
Sun 28-Dec-2008 00:31 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
15. mohamed adelجزاكم الله خيرا
Sun 21-Dec-2008 17:28 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
16. walid elmorsiشكرا جزيلا على هذة المعلومات الثمينة ونرجو من اللة مزيد من التوفيق
Mon 15-Dec-2008 02:30 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
17. محمد جبالي عبدالله جبالي جباليكلام فوق الرائع وجيد جدا وجزاكم الله خيرا جزيلا وشكرا
Sun 09-Nov-2008 17:14 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
18. abdel hafid melouahنشكركم عن هذه النصائح المفيذة و جزاكم الله كل خير و أتمنى التوفيق للجميع
Sun 26-Oct-2008 22:10 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
19. Farid ArabThanks a million. Not only I didnot know it is essential to follow-up through call or email But also I thought it is a disturbing for the recruiter.
Tue 30-Sep-2008 18:25 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
20. Asim KhanNice and indeed a very productive article .
Mon 29-Sep-2008 04:07 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
21. Ehab Abd Elrahman Mohamed Madyجزاكم الله به خيراً
Wed 24-Sep-2008 12:55 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
22. ايهاب راضيشكرا..
Thu 11-Sep-2008 05:52 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
23. naif alshammariشكرا
Wed 27-Aug-2008 11:55 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
24. Jamaluddin HaqVery kind advise for some who usually do these mistakes. Keep up the good work, BAYT Team. Regards Jamaluddin Haq. Riyadh
Mon 25-Aug-2008 08:01 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
25. Brahim Michtaمجهود جد رائع ومشكور على النصائح
Thu 24-Jul-2008 11:25 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
26. Qusai ALHejaziموقع مميز بمواصفات وتطبيقات عالية التقنية و الجودة، قصي حجازي
Mon 14-Jul-2008 12:51 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
27. Murad M. Masribayt.com is the best always that gives the final idea which help and support job seekers, i think this is not only my opinion its an opinion of many job seekers. thanks bayt i hope the best for you. murad m. a. masri
Sat 12-Jul-2008 14:06 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
28. AHMED ELSHAFEYإن الدور الريادى لموقع بيت دوت كوم لا يحتاج إلى تعليق هانى عبد العزيز البنا
Sat 12-Jul-2008 09:55 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
29. سمير احمد محمد عارفجزاكم الله خيراً لما تقدموا من نصائح ثمينه وخدمات جليلة ويكون فى ميزان حسناتكم يوم لا ينفع فيه مال ولا بنين [ من فرج قربة من قرب الدنيا عن اخيه فرج الله عليه قربة من قرب يوم القيامة ] وبارك الله لكم اجمعين
Tue 08-Jul-2008 14:03 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
30. Rudito Cinco Jr.Sir Iam glad that I've read your instruction and what to be follow during interview I will keep those good tips in mind always cause it helps me in the fuure. thank you again.
Mon 23-Jun-2008 04:06 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
31. ayinla saheedit is educative and intresting ideas. ilove it ,keep on.
Tue 17-Jun-2008 15:16 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
32. Mutasim ElhagImportant hints, thanks for availing important guidance for job seekers, Mutasim
Mon 12-May-2008 07:28 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
33. Ashok kumar SahooHi Bayt, Thanks a lot.Its a real guide you have provided to the people who search for better jobs including me.The key point i got how to negotiate the price through your write up.Thanks again.
Fri 02-May-2008 14:10 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
34. Mokhtar Rouabahcomment ca va
Sun 27-Apr-2008 18:35 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
35. sara mahmoodThis is very good, i didnt know that we have to follow up! appreciate the info. regards.
Wed 26-Mar-2008 09:47 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
36. Qusay Al-KhateebGood posting I appreciate it
Mon 10-Mar-2008 13:32 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
37. sherif mustafaشكرا على هذا المجهود
Sat 23-Feb-2008 09:46 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
38. Dr Iz Elamindaer sir, I can't thank you enough for these valuable advices
Sun 10-Feb-2008 16:53 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
39. Sona WavdeSir, Thank you very much though i am writing thank you letter after interview but follow up is one thing which is needed most after interview. Sonal
Sun 27-Jan-2008 12:03 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment
40. Binoy MathewWritten very well indeed. I had never thought about follow up after interview, a very good point. Thank you very much and wishing all the best for everyone in the team.
Sun 20-Jan-2008 07:50 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
41. Nasim Ahammed KunjuSir it is an excellent article for everybody, who is looking a change in his job or freshers wish you all the best
Sun 06-Jan-2008 10:04 AM - Report Inappropriate Comment
42. Bharath Kumar Suresh Udupisir I am very happy and lucky to get these information which some of them i didnt know before.by following this we will defeinetly have success. Thank you once again regards Bharath
Tue 13-Nov-2007 13:53 PM - Report Inappropriate Comment

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