Avoid These 5 Rookie Mistakes When Interviewing

If you are new to the job market or returning after a while it’s easy to get nervous and make some newbie mistakes. Here are five mistakes to avoid when interviewing:

1. Not conducting your due diligence

According to an article on www.monster.com, “It sounds basic, but many job seekers don’t sufficiently research the company ahead of time, says Belinda Plutz, founder of the New York-based Career Mentors Inc.”

“So many people look at the job posting and the company’s website but don’t dig deeper,” she says.

It doesn’t require access to Hoover’s database or peer-reviewed articles to find out a lot about the company you are interviewing with. Start with a simple Google search for recent news about the organization. Review the organization’s mission, vision, and value statements.

2. Elevator Pitch

It’s imperative to prepare responses to common behavioral based questions (e.g., “Tell me about yourself”), but don’t be robotic. Instead of memorizing answers and repeating them line-by-line, focus on the overall concept. Get your elevator pitch ready, with a few supporting facts about your professional or educational career.

3. Have some prepared questions

Many people forget that interviews are a two-way street. You should be evaluating the company to see if you would be a good fit for their company culture. You’re there to be interviewed, but take advantage of the face time by asking thoughtful questions.

Limit yourself to two or three questions, since the hiring manager’s time is finite. Find out whether it’s a new position.

I would suggest inquiring about the expectations for the first month or two. “You’ll get a flavor of what the job is like without being mundane and asking, ‘What’s a typical day like?’” she says.

Last, pose a question that establishes a personal connection with the hiring manager; for example, “How many years have you worked here? What has your experience been like?”

4. Overlooking your body language

Non-verbal communication can create a great first impression—or immediately turn off a hiring manager. “When we talk about getting a gut feeling about someone, what we’re really talking about is reading his or her nonverbal cues [subconsciously],” says Atlanta-based body language expert Patti Wood.

Don’t be stiff, says Wood, who recommends occasionally leaning forward with your head, upper torso, or whole body to show you’re interested in what the interviewer is saying, and remember to smile.

5. Botching the follow-up

Set expectations at the end of the interview a couple of basic questions: “What’s the next step in the process?” and “How should I follow up with you?”

Instead of relying on your memory, Plutz says make notes of what you spoke about immediately after the interview and send a short thank-you email within 72 hours. Handwritten notes stand out in today’s cluttered world, but in most situations, an email will suffice.

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