How to avoid interview mistakes

Case interviews are incredibly challenging and competitive as they are designed to test your analytical and critical thinking abilities. All major management consulting firms have case interviews as an important part of their selection process. Therefore, it is essential that you prepare well for your case interview in order to get selected. It’s also advisable to avoid the common mistakes that most candidates make in case interviews.

Many candidates appear for case interviews to start their career in consulting. However, only a few are able to make it. The reason behind it is not only a rigorous selection process which all consulting firms follow. It also depends on how well you perform in the interview. To perform well, it’s important that you don’t repeat the same mistakes committed by many candidates.

Let’s have a look at some of the typical case interview mistakes and the tips to avoid them.

Common Case Interview Mistakes and Tips to Avoid Them

Below are the usual mistakes made by the candidates during a case interview and tips to avoid them.

Final Word

It’s crucial to avoid the common mistakes made in case interviews to be successful in your consulting career. The path to starting your career with an excellent consulting firm is a case interview. Almost all firms use case interviews to test if the candidate if a perfect fit for their company or not. Hence, it’s essential to give your best in a case interview. Take case interviews as an opportunity to showcase your analytical and critical thinking skills to the interviewer.

Be abreast with your preparation and avoid commonly committed mistakes. You can save yourself from repeating the same mistakes by following the tips shared in this article. The best advice to crack case interviews is to prepare well and prepare strategically. Be aware of the kind of questions asked in such interviews and how you should answer them. Look for the best online resources to help you with your preparation. Lastly, stay confident and dedicated and trust yourself. Good Luck!

Common job interview mistakes can easily be avoided using these good interview tips.

These are the ten most common interview mistakes that employers and hiring managers complain about. They can be lethal to your job interview performance and cost your the job. Taking some simple steps will help you avoid these mistakes in your next job interview.

The most common job interview mistakes and how to avoid them

The biggest mistakes to avoid in your next job interview include:

1. Not Preparing for the Interview

Not doing your homework and not preparing adequately for the interview beforehand shows you up as a disinterested and unprofessional candidate.

The best way to impress your interviewer is to demonstrate your interest and commitment by referring to your company background research in both your interview answers and the questions you ask.

2. Inappropriate Interview Dress

Hiring managers state that one of the most common job interview mistakes that candidates make is dressing incorrectly. It is key to know the job interview dress code of the company where you are interviewing and to select your interview clothes accordingly.

3. Arriving Late

One of the worst job interview mistakes is to not be on time for the interview. The whole interview process is compromised as you will have to work very hard to overcome creating an initial bad impression.

Collect all the necessary details beforehand to ensure that you arrive on time – directions, travel times, transport options. Make a practice run if possible to ensure you know where you are going and how long it takes.

The first impression you make is crucial to the way the rest of your interview goes.

4. Stumbling over Interview Answers

Being unable to clearly articulate responses to the questions you face is a candidate’s worst nightmare. Avoid this interview mistake by preparing and practicing your answers to typical interview questions beforehand.

This will ensure that you are ready with the information you are asked for and you are able to present it confidently to the interviewer without stumbling over words in the interview.

Sometimes candidates do not understand the question and instead of seeking clarification they answer with the wrong information. Find out how to clarify interview questions that you are unsure of.

5. Failing to Ask Good Questions

Interviewers are unimpressed when they ask the candidate if they have any questions and the candidate does not! Having no questions indicates that you are not sufficiently interested and have not thought much about the position. You should arrive with a list of several prepared questions that you can use when necessary.

You will want to find out certain details about the position as well as show the interviewer that you have done some serious thinking about the job and the company. Avoid making one of the most damaging job interview mistakes and have some insightful questions ready.

6. Talking Too Much

Rambling on and telling the interviewer more than they want to know can quickly lose their interest. Make sure your answers are relevant and focused. The best way to do this is to prepare and practice your interview answers beforehand.

Confirm you have understood what information the interviewer wants by asking a clarifying question, such as, “Should I focus on . “. Listen actively to what the interviewer is saying to make sure you get the right message. This takes concentration and focus. These tips for job interview communication will help you avoid this mistake.

Inappropriate jokes can be a real job interview disaster. The rule of thumb is to avoid making jokes at this time.

7. Appearing Over-Anxious

Interviews are stressful.

Nervous and anxious behavior can be off-putting and lead to job interview mistakes. It is important to overcome interview nerves and come across as confident and comfortable.

8. Not Displaying a Positive Attitude

Complaining about former employers and colleagues creates a negative impression. Disclosing inappropriate details such as the problems you had with a former manager and seeming defensive when responding to difficult interview questions, such as reasons for leaving previous jobs, also conveys a negative attitude.

Focus on positive topics and achievements. Be enthusiastic about what you have learned from previous challenges and how overcoming problems has developed you positively as a person. Prepare job interview answers to tricky questions.

9. Appearing Distracted

Avoid fiddling with anything while you are talking or listening to the interviewer.

We interviewed a candidate who tried to balance his pencil on his fingers, it kept falling off and, unbelievable as it seems, at one point he was scrabbling on the floor for it!

10. Leaving on the Wrong Note

It is important to close the interview properly and leave the interviewer with a good impression. Asking relevant questions about the hiring process, thanking the interviewer and leaving on a confident note all ensure that you will be remembered as a good job candidate.

What should you avoid saying in your job interview?

How to avoid interview mistakes

What else should you not say in your interview?

Find out more about how to perfect your job interview technique

What should I do if I mess up in an interview?

What can you do when know you have made mistakes in your interview and you want to put it right?

  • Reflect on the interview and make a list of what went wrong
  • Consider how you can make sure these mistakes can be avoided in any future interviews
  • Send a polite thank you letter and address any issues that you can in your email or letter. Interview Thank You Letters Template
  • Include your references to address any areas of concern
  • Ask for a second chance. Email the interviewer thanking him or her for the interview, explaining what you think went wrong in the interview and requesting a second meeting.

Best interview preparation help

This interview checklist will help you to be well prepared to avoid job interview mistakes and win in your interview.

Stop interview mistakes before they happen by using this mock job interview to practice before you go for your interview.

How to avoid interview mistakes

Even within all advancements and changes to the job search process, some parts of the interview process remain unchanged. For example, hiring managers still use certain common interview questions to judge how well candidates will fit with their firms. So, to be successful in your job search, you need to answer these questions well. And, perhaps even more important, you need to avoid the below mistakes—the worst answers to these questions.

1. Tell me about yourself.

This common question seems innocent enough, but it’s actually a challenging question that can be difficult to answer concisely. And it’s particularly important since it often starts your interview and defines its tone. The most common mistakes in answering this question are:

  • telling your life story
  • talking about your hobbies and interests
  • revealing personal life matters
  • asking, “Well, what do you want to know?”

All of the above strategies will not make positive impressions, as they don’t match the question’s key intention—which is to see if you understand the essential skills and experience necessary to succeed in the role you’re applying to.

2. What’s your greatest weakness?

This ubiquitous interview question continues to trip up candidates. The problem is the majority of candidates stick to one of the following undesired scenarios in their answers:

  • demonstrating strengths as weaknesses
  • highlighting perfectionism and hard work
  • facing difficulties with identifying weaknesses
  • showing no perspectives for improvement

By asking this question, interviewers are looking for three critical qualities: self-awareness, honesty, and the ability to self-improve. None of the answers above reveals these qualities.

3. Could you explain this gap in your employment history?

It’s entirely okay to have a gap on your resume, and most people do—for various, valid reasons. Why this question can be so tricky is candidates often think they need to hide their gaps, and thus they say something that’s untrue. What’s most important when answering this question is to be honest—but at the same time, you don’t have to reveal too much. And the worst possible answers to this question are those that reveal conflict, aggression, or misbehavior issues. For example:

  • “I was fired from my previous job, but it wasn’t my fault. I sued them and am taking them to court.”
  • “I quit my last job. My manager was horrible. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”
  • “I was in between jobs. I didn’t too much.”
  • “My previous job did not work out. Actually, my boss made a massive mistake by laying me off.”

It’s extremely important when answering this question to avoid bad-mouthing anyone, and to make sure to mention anything you did during your gap that might be relevant to the role you’re applying for, or your career in general. So, you might mention online courses you took or side hustles you started. Just don’t mention all the Netflix movies you watched.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Speaking of movies, remember that awkward situation in The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, when 70-year-old job candidate Ben (played by De Niro) is asked this very question in an interview? That situation reveals the only possible case where no answer to this question is a good answer. In other words, you must answer this question. It can’t be avoided. And never provide a vague answer with no reference to the current position such as:

  • “I don’t know—that’s a long time!”
  • “I’d like to start my own company one day.”
  • “I see myself in your job.”

These answers will be seen as lazy and irrelevant, and will be sure ways to end your candidacy.

5. What are your salary expectations?

This can be a tricky question, especially since it often comes early in the process so as not to waste time on a candidate who wants more money than can be offered. The worst answers to this question have no basis in research or avoid a concrete number altogether:

  • “I don’t know. What are you offering?”
  • “What’s the average for this position?”
  • “I will cost you a bit more than an average employee at this position.”
  • “You won’t regret a cent, I’m totally worth it.”

For sure, you don’t want to be the first one bringing up the money conversation—let hiring managers and recruiters bring up salary—but since compensation is going to come up eventually, you want to be prepared with a clear, reasonable number or range in mind. So, make sure to do your research, find out the going rate for the role, and think about what you’d really need, monetarily speaking, to be satisfied in the position.

Erika Rykun is a career and productivity copywriter who believes in the power of networking. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing with her cat, Cola. Find her at Medium and Twitter.

How to avoid interview mistakes

By Stacy Pursell, CPC/CERS
The VET Recruiter®

The interview stage of the hiring process can be tricky, to say the least. You’re trying to make a good impression and brand yourself in the best way possible, but things don’t always go as you’ve planned them.

In fact, even if you’re well prepared and you have the best of intentions, the wrong things can happen. And sometimes, you’re not even aware that those things are happening. After more than twenty years working in the employment marketplace as a professional search consultant, I’ve seen just about everything, and that includes the interview mistakes that job candidates make.

Eliminate interview mistakes before the interview starts

Even if the employer decides to not make an offer of employment to you and even if you decide that the job is not the right position for you, it’s still important to brand yourself the right way. You never know what the future holds, and your performance during the interview could be the key to discovering a great new opportunity down the road. So, it’s critical to be cognizant of interview mistakes you could make and eliminate them before the interview begins.

Below are five costly interview mistakes you might not realize you’re making:

#1—Talking too much

Yes, you are nervous, and you might be one of those people who talk too much when they’re nervous. When you do that, though, you run the risk of rambling, which is a not a good look for a job interview. You might also “talk over” someone or interrupt them in your eagerness to share a thought or a past experience.

Instead, practice answering common interview questions beforehand and work to stay laser-focused during the interview. Remember, a successful interview is not about quantity, as in how many words you speak. It’s about the quality of those words and the impact that they have.

#2—Saying “always” and “never”

These are examples of absolutes, which are indicative of an “all or nothing” pattern of thinking. Organizations are typically not in the habit of hiring candidates who employ this type of thinking. That’s because the world is full of problems and solutions that can not be addressed with absolutes. Employers want to hire people who are aware of this and don’t give into the temptation to blindly categorize people and situations because it’s easier or in an attempt to portray themselves in a more positive light.

#3—“Over selling” yourself

You know that you have to “sell” yourself during the interview. That’s basically what an interview is all about. But can you go too far? Yes, you can absolutely go too far, and when you do, the people interviewing you are going to notice.

Keep in mind that while you must “sell” yourself, you are NOT the focus of the interview. The focus of the interview is the problem that the employer has and that it is attempting to solve through the hiring of a candidate. So what you’re really “selling” is how you are going to solve the employer’s problem if they were to hire you.

#4—Getting too personal

You might have heard before that it’s a good idea to try to make a personal connection with the person or people who are interviewing you. And it is a good idea. It can help to “break the ice” and lead to a more relaxed and more effective interview. Talking about a shared interest or current events in the world is a way in which to do this. (But keep politics out of it!)

However, you want to make sure that you don’t “cross the line.” This can mean any number of things, including mentioning the fact that you were checking the person out on social media or making a comment about the photo of their family that’s next to them. Making a personal connection is good, but doing so while keeping proper boundaries is even better.

#5—Feeling too relaxed

It’s crucial to finish strong during your interview. Unfortunately, some people tend to relax toward the end of their interview, especially if they believe it has gone well and that they’ve made the proper personal connection with the other people involved.

This is when things can go wrong. Specifically, you might say the wrong thing at the wrong time, making an inappropriate remark that can mar an otherwise solid interview. Being uptight during an interview is not good, but neither is being too relaxed. You want to strive to be somewhere in between, and remember that the only time that you can truly relax is when the interview is completely over.

(And if you’re participating in a virtual interview, it’s only completely over when you know for sure that you’ve closed out of the software and no one can see and/or hear you anymore.)

Avoid interview mistakes with the help of a recruiter

The interviewing stage of the hiring process is just one the areas in which an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can help you if you have the opportunity to work with one as part of one of their client’s interview processes. Not only do they know about the interview, but they also know a lot about the employer that is conducting it. After all, they work for the employer to help fill its important job openings.

When you work with a professional recruiter or search consultant, you can benefit from their experience and expertise. That’s because they will be willing to share that expertise with you, as well as other information that can help you become more successful in your Animal Health or Veterinary career. And that’s the bottom line when it comes to working with a recruiter—maximizing your professional potential and enjoying more career success! If you are working with a search consultant asks them how to maximize your potential during the interview process.

If you’re looking to make a change or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

How to avoid interview mistakesThe interview process is not black and white for any industry, but interviewing in healthcare is especially complex. Multiple facilities, a wide range of positions to fill, three shifts, strict HR compliance regulations, high turnover, and common interview mistakes are just some of the factors that contribute to the challenging world of hiring in healthcare.

To thrive, healthcare organizations must consistently hire top talent — doctors, nurses, and other staff members who are service-oriented and capable of helping organizations satisfy their distinct and critical mission. To do so, healthcare HR professionals need to make sure their recruitment process is as efficient and effective as possible to avoid common interview mistakes.

We interviewed a number of healthcare talent acquisition professionals and have identified the five common interviewing mistakes that prevent healthcare organizations from hiring the best person for the job:

1. Undefined job expectations

Failing to define what characteristics you’re seeking makes it impossible to come up with appropriate screening and interviewing questions. Do your homework before you create the job description to avoid vagueness.

2. Ignoring the rules

Ignoring the interview guide and hiring a candidate based on a “gut” feeling can be a mistake. “We found that ignoring behavioral assessment results during the interview process leads to bad hires. You only make that mistake once, and then you learn,” said Anne St. John, Director of Organizational Development and Training at MemorialCare Health System in California. A gut feeling is important and shouldn’t be completely ignored, but make sure you implement a structured interview guide at the same time for consistency. In addition to using healthcare-specific behavioral assessments to ensure you’re evaluating for cultural fit, don’t overlook the importance of reference checking!

While there is no official “rule” about having to conduct reference checks in healthcare to investigate a candidate’s previous professional experience, it would behoove you to do so regardless. The traditional phone-based method of checking references is labor-intensive and often not very productive — but ignoring the “unspoken rule” of conducting a candidate reference checks is not in your best interest. Think about it, no one has better insight into a candidate’s past job performance than their former colleagues. However, there’s a better way to conduct reference checks that will save the talent acquisition time, while also garnering better quality, thoughtful candidate references. By leveraging the power of behavioral science and confidential multi-rater surveys through the use of an automated reference checking solution, your healthcare organization will streamline the entire reference checking process—saving time, while also improving hiring results by getting candid views of your final candidates.

3. Lack of education

Many organizations roll out methodologies like behavioral interviewing but don’t support their implementation through proper training. This is particularly problematic with team interviews. Always rely on transparency throughout the process and provide training for hiring managers and interviewing teams on how to use behavioral interview guides.

4. Naivety

Given the tremendous growth in healthcare needs, many people are seeking healthcare careers simply because they see the field as a source of job security. Don’t fall for the “I want to get into healthcare to help people” response. According to Patty McNary, Recruiter at CentraCare Health System in St. Cloud, Minnesota, “HealthcareSource Staff Assessment results are helpful in assessing whether an applicant is willing to do the things most commonly found in a healthcare environment, such as 24/7 coverage, or being around people who are sick. People who have not worked in healthcare before aren’t always aware of what they are getting into or what the expectations are.” To thrive in a service-based industry and competitive market, healthcare organizations need to focus on hiring customer-oriented individuals who also have the competencies to succeed — not just the desiree.

5. Talking too much

You shouldn’t spend more time speaking than the person you’re interviewing. Hiring a candidate when the interviewer does most of the talking can lead to inadequate hires. Make sure you’re selling and not telling during the interview—because that is likely another one of the very common interview mistakes that often turn candidates off from accepting a job offer.

How to avoid interview mistakes
Are you interested in learning more about how you can improve the interview process at your healthcare organization and avoid common interview mistakes? Download our free educational white paper titled:

Improving the Interview Process: 6 Strategies for Healthcare HR and Talent Acquisition Professionals

In this white paper, we share six strategies for healthcare HR and talent acquisition professionals to consider adopting to improve their healthcare organization’s recruitment process.

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About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.

You could shoot to fame for all the wrong reasons if a bad media interview goes viral.

Unprepared, rude or flippant comments can damage your reputation. And that of your company – in just seconds.

At best, a bad media interview is a wasted opportunity to spread your message and raise your profile.

Here are seven signs of a bad media interview, together with four examples of people who need some media training. Quick.

Seven Media Interview Mistakes

  1. Does not answer the question
  2. Bad-mouths others
  3. Not preparing for negative questions
  4. Not correcting mistakes
  5. No proof, no stories
  6. Too much jargon
  7. No purpose

Media Interview Mistakes | 1. The CEO doesn’t answer the question.

Journalists’ most newsworthy questions are often the ones you don’t want to answer.

You might be tempted to ignore them or just answer the one you wish you’d been asked, but unfortunately this won’t work.

It might even stoke the fire, drawing attention to the fact that you don’t actually have a satisfactory response for the real question.

Instead, use the bridging technique: acknowledge and respond to the question, then link your answer to one of the key messages you want to convey, so you can regain control of the interview.

Bad media interview example | How not to do it – Shantung Narayen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Adobe Systems. Notice how he repeatedly avoids answering a direct question in this media interview:

Bad Media Interview Problem | 2. The CEO bad-mouths others.

Sometimes a CEO feels cornered, and wants to point the finger of blame elsewhere.

Sometimes, negative media attention focuses unfairly on one company’s processes, while a competitor seems to be getting away with it. At other times, ill-judged humour backfires.

Whatever the cause, rise above it and resist bad-mouthing others.

The media-fluent CEO remains nice at all times when speaking about journalists, competitors, former employers and any other stakeholders during interviews.

Bad Media Interview Example | 3. The CEO doesn’t prepare for negative questions.

The media pays journalists to dig beneath the story given to them and find a unique, newsworthy angle. In addition, you’re more likely to be given media time and attention during a crisis or controversy.

Write down the tough questions that might be asked and rehearse your responses until you can respond calmly.

Use the exact words and phrases that you want to be published or broadcast saying. Schedule formal mock media interviews to help you practice under pressure.

Bad media interview mistakes | How not to do it – Peter Ward is the Chief Executive of the British Dental Association.

He was asked about the dangers of amalgam fillings in this media interview. This was his unexpected response:

Bad Media Interview Mistakes | 4. The CEO doesn’t correct mistakes immediately.

If you don’t fix any misunderstandings during the interview, then the journalist will write and publish their interpretation of what you said.

Instead, quickly say, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I explained that very clearly. What I meant is…” to ensure the correct message reaches the audience.

Media Interview Problem | 5. The CEO doesn’t prepare proof, examples and stories.

If you lack the detail to back up what you say, you will quickly run into trouble.

Instead, create a ‘message house’: draw a house with three ground floor rooms, three top floor rooms and a roof on top.

Write your overall message in the roof of the house.

The three top floor rooms should contain up to three sub-messages.

Beneath each of these sub-messages write the proof, examples and stories that back up each of those sub-messages and bring them to life for your audience.

Then practice. The best CEOs constantly refine and stress test their messaging with mock media interviews. Sufficient practice will ensure you are fully prepared, confident and in control when the time comes.

Media interview mistakes | How not to do it – This radio interview is from the political world and features Natalie Bennett from the Green Party.

It shows how quickly confidence in a message is lost without the necessary evidence and detail to back it up:

Media Interview Mistakes | 6. The CEO uses jargon.

Powerful communicators use simple language, with no hackneyed phrases or long words.

The audience may differ in their grasp of your industry’s jargon. Therefore, speaking simply and clearly will ensure the maximum of people understand what you are trying to convey.

TV Interview Example | 7. The CEO doesn’t know who the end audience is or why they are doing the media interview.

The interviewer is just your route to the audience. Think of media interviews as an opportunity to engage your target audience without having to pay.

Research the journalist and their publication before agreeing to anything. What angle are they planning for the piece?

What have they published on this (or similar topics) previously?

The more challenging the interviewer or his/her angle is likely to be, the higher the risk of a bad media interview.

Media interview mistakes | How not to do it – Tony Hayward was previously the CEO of BP.

He committed a string of media interview gaffes following the Mexico Gulf oil disaster, including stating he wanted his ‘life back’ during this apology on behalf of the company:

How to avoid a bad media interview experience

How to give a great media interview

We prepare and coach CEOs & senior executives for media interviews.

You can get support with every aspect including words, stories, messages and appearance.

Call our Client Services Director Louise Angus on +44 20 7018 0922 to discuss your needs and how we can best support you.

How to avoid interview mistakes

Even within all advancements and changes to the job search process, some parts of the interview process remain unchanged. For example, hiring managers still use certain common interview questions to judge how well candidates will fit with their firms. So, to be successful in your job search, you need to answer these questions well. And, perhaps even more important, you need to avoid the below mistakes—the worst answers to these questions.

1. Tell me about yourself.

This common question seems innocent enough, but it’s actually a challenging question that can be difficult to answer concisely. And it’s particularly important since it often starts your interview and defines its tone. The most common mistakes in answering this question are:

  • telling your life story
  • talking about your hobbies and interests
  • revealing personal life matters
  • asking, “Well, what do you want to know?”

All of the above strategies will not make positive impressions, as they don’t match the question’s key intention—which is to see if you understand the essential skills and experience necessary to succeed in the role you’re applying to.

2. What’s your greatest weakness?

This ubiquitous interview question continues to trip up candidates. The problem is the majority of candidates stick to one of the following undesired scenarios in their answers:

  • demonstrating strengths as weaknesses
  • highlighting perfectionism and hard work
  • facing difficulties with identifying weaknesses
  • showing no perspectives for improvement

By asking this question, interviewers are looking for three critical qualities: self-awareness, honesty, and the ability to self-improve. None of the answers above reveals these qualities.

3. Could you explain this gap in your employment history?

It’s entirely okay to have a gap on your resume, and most people do—for various, valid reasons. Why this question can be so tricky is candidates often think they need to hide their gaps, and thus they say something that’s untrue. What’s most important when answering this question is to be honest—but at the same time, you don’t have to reveal too much. And the worst possible answers to this question are those that reveal conflict, aggression, or misbehavior issues. For example:

  • “I was fired from my previous job, but it wasn’t my fault. I sued them and am taking them to court.”
  • “I quit my last job. My manager was horrible. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”
  • “I was in between jobs. I didn’t too much.”
  • “My previous job did not work out. Actually, my boss made a massive mistake by laying me off.”

It’s extremely important when answering this question to avoid bad-mouthing anyone, and to make sure to mention anything you did during your gap that might be relevant to the role you’re applying for, or your career in general. So, you might mention online courses you took or side hustles you started. Just don’t mention all the Netflix movies you watched.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Speaking of movies, remember that awkward situation in The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, when 70-year-old job candidate Ben (played by De Niro) is asked this very question in an interview? That situation reveals the only possible case where no answer to this question is a good answer. In other words, you must answer this question. It can’t be avoided. And never provide a vague answer with no reference to the current position such as:

  • “I don’t know—that’s a long time!”
  • “I’d like to start my own company one day.”
  • “I see myself in your job.”

These answers will be seen as lazy and irrelevant, and will be sure ways to end your candidacy.

5. What are your salary expectations?

This can be a tricky question, especially since it often comes early in the process so as not to waste time on a candidate who wants more money than can be offered. The worst answers to this question have no basis in research or avoid a concrete number altogether:

  • “I don’t know. What are you offering?”
  • “What’s the average for this position?”
  • “I will cost you a bit more than an average employee at this position.”
  • “You won’t regret a cent, I’m totally worth it.”

For sure, you don’t want to be the first one bringing up the money conversation—let hiring managers and recruiters bring up salary—but since compensation is going to come up eventually, you want to be prepared with a clear, reasonable number or range in mind. So, make sure to do your research, find out the going rate for the role, and think about what you’d really need, monetarily speaking, to be satisfied in the position.

Erika Rykun is a career and productivity copywriter who believes in the power of networking. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing with her cat, Cola. Find her at Medium and Twitter.

How to avoid interview mistakes

How to avoid interview mistakes

Interviews have been the hardest part of the hiring process throughout their history. The best interview techniques for employers are challenging. Mistakes can compromise your judgement, from cognitive biases to lack of proper preparation, and they may have serious consequences.

Learning how to conduct an interview is, therefore, essential. Advice is there if you look for it. Whether or not you have researched the best interview questions and identified interview questions not to ask, how do you cut out mistakes that you’re not even aware you’re making?

Experienced interviewers know that acknowledging them is a vital step to dealing with them. Here’s 10 things you should try to avoid:

  1. Lack of preparation

Hundreds of articles urge candidates to prepare thoroughly for an interview. At the same time, few remind the interviewer that they must do the same. A candidate that comes in unprepared risks losing one of a number of job opportunities, while an interviewer has more at stake. You may miss out on a chance to a systematic technique to interviewing by recording valuable historical data. Eventually you may also lose a great hire. It’s great if you know what you are looking for. But you can’t always count on “when I see it I’ll know it”. A structured interview takes time to prepare but is one of the best predictors of job performance.

  1. Confirmation bias

When a person formulates an idea or hypothesis in their minds, they will look for a way to validate it. This is confirmation bias and it should be checked. If a hiring manager decides before the interview that a candidate is stellar, they will look for (and likely find) proof of that while interviewing. Meanwhile, due to selective perception, they will be blind to anything negative that contradicts that preconceived idea. This poor interview tactic a sure route to a bad decision.

  1. Halo Effect

Imagine you are awed by a candidate’s coding skills. They quickly wrote a piece of code that is functional, clean and perfect to look at. Your appreciation of that skill is likely to spill over to other areas in which you are trying to evaluate the candidate. You find that their communication or teamwork skills are deficient, but their negative effect is lessened greatly. You may end up hiring this candidate and find out the hard way that they’re not a good fit in your company.

  1. Social comparison bias

It happens to all of us. People have a tendency to compare themselves with others in every aspect of life. When you perceive that someone is better in some way, feelings of resentment can arise. During the interview, hiring managers may view candidates who they perceive as better than themselves with some degree of competitiveness. This results in negative feelings and no hire for a highly qualified candidate. Being aware of this bias can help you overcome it. Be reminded that this candidate isn’t out to get your job, you will hire them based on potential and the benefits they can bring to the company.

  1. Affect Heuristic

So you and the candidate went to the same high school. You feel the familiarity and enjoy the reminiscence. If you don’t quickly check it, your judgement may be easily clouded and the future decision affected. Luckily, there are remedies for that. The presence of more than one interviewer is likely to reduce the effect of subjective judgement. Most importantly though a structured interview will help you focus on objective criteria.

  1. Rushing to conclusions

Half of employers report they need only five minutes to determine if a candidate is a good fit, according to a recent poll. In such a short time, you will probably be able to tell if they are polite, confident or well-dressed. But are these really correlated to future job performance? Most likely no. It’s important to remember that an interview isn’t a race. You don’t get bonus points for deciding on a candidate quickly. First impressions can easily mislead you and compromise your willingness to ask the right questions or interpret the answers. Try to wait until the end of the interview to formulate your initial judgement. Maybe you will be surprised.

  1. Chasing perfection

Often, hiring managers aren’t really trying to find the best among the interviewees. They are trying to find what they have dreamed as the “perfect” candidate. One that has all the qualifications they asked for and then some, who is diligent, polite, confident and dying to work for them. But such a candidate doesn’t exist. You will probably keep interviewing until the decision becomes urgent. Talented candidates who could’ve been trained to excel, will have found another job. Instead of holding out for “perfection”, be more realistic.

  1. Not knowing what to look for

Interviewers may occasionally rely too much on template questions they found on the internet or heard from others. Sometimes they don’t know what these questions are meant to reveal. You should think about what you are trying to assess when you ask competency based interview questions like how a candidate handled a difficult client. Is it patience, communication skills, problem-solving or all of those qualities together? Being conscious of the purpose of a question is the only way to evaluate the answer. Otherwise, you may end up interpreting it by intuition or disregard it altogether.

Using structured interviews can help you define your requirements early. Download our free guide to learn how.

  1. Not delving deeper into questions

Behavioral interview questions are a modern interviewing technique that is actually more complicated than it appears. Asking one question about a past experience may not tell you a lot about a candidate. You don’t just want to hear their story. You want to understand their way of thinking, how they reached a solution, what was the impact of their actions and how others perceived them. Every time you ask a question, you should be ready to follow up with others until you get to the core of what you need to make an informed decision.

  1. Not “selling” the company

Interviewers can forget sometimes that an interview isn’t only about them assessing the candidate. It’s also a chance to present the company in a way that will persuade the best candidate to accept their offer. This is essential, since someone with strong qualifications will probably have other options to consider too. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should get carried away bragging about your company. A sound benchmark to aim for is 80/20 listening/talking and avoid sounding arrogant or insincere. You should try to make every word count to your favor.