Four Mistakes You’re Making During an Interview

You’ve gotten through the initial application screening and now you have moved on to the interview! This is your chance to put your best self forward and land that position. Make sure you avoid making these common mistakes that might keep you from receiving an offer:

  1. Not researching the organization thoroughly. You don’t want to get stumped on a question like “Why do you want to work at our organization?” Employers are looking not just for someone who can do the job, but for someone who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their organization. Before your interview you should research the organization’s website and social media presence. You should be familiar with things like their mission, values, and company culture. Find out more about researching an organization in this blog post
  2. Relying too much on notes. While it’s a great idea to take some notes while you’re doing your research and reflecting on your skills and experiences, you shouldn’t rely on these notes in the interview. In video and in-person interviewing, eye contact is key, and you can’t make eye contact and reference your notes at the same time. For phone interviews, you also want to be wary of sounding like you are simply reading your responses or shuffling through papers during a call (interviewers can hear that!).
  3. Not having questions to ask the interviewer. Before an interview for any position, you should always have questions prepared for the interviewer(s) and they should be good questions. Good questions are ones that are not obvious in the job description or website, and aren’t about things like salary or vacation (wait until you get an offer to discuss those specifics). Check out the interviewing page on our website for some sample questions.
  4. Forgetting to send a thank you note. You might breathe a sigh of relief and think “that’s all done!” when you complete an interview, but there is one more important step to take – a thank you note. This should be emailed to your interviewer(s) within 24 hours and should include specifics about your conversation. For more tips on writing the perfect interview thank you, check out this detailed article.

If you are preparing for an upcoming interview, consider making an appointment with a career coach on Handshake to practice with a mock interview. You can also practice by recording yourself answering interview questions with Big Interview. Finally, learn more about interviewing in this recorded interviewing workshop.

—By Salome Miclette, Assistant Director, Career Education

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