3 Huge Interview Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)
“WHICH ANSWER SOUNDS BETTER TO YOU…”
Interviews. They can be a breeze, or a nightmare. As important as they are to the hiring process, not a lot of people actually know what they should do/say during an interview to make the best impression possible.
During my time as a business English coach, I’ve helped tons of Korean professionals prepare for English job and school interviews, and have noticed some major mistakes that A LOT of people make. Today, I want to share these mistakes with you, and tell you exactly what you should do/say instead. If you understand and follow these simple tips, you’ll be more prepared than probably 90% of people for your next big interview.
MISTAKE #1: Being Under or Over Prepared
Most of the people I’ve worked with fall into one of two categories when it comes to interviews. They either:
1: Don’t really have a plan
2: Try to plan word for word everything they’re going to say and memorize their responses like they’re an actor reciting lines in a movie.
Neither of these are ideal. If you go into an interview without any planning/preparation, your answers will be unorganized, you might leave out key details, and you will create the impression that you’re lazy and don’t really care about the interview. If you plan literally everything you’re going to say, your speaking will seem robotic and unnatural.
Instead, think of the interview like you’re giving a powerpoint presentation. When you give a presentation, you outline all of the important information in your powerpoint. This outline can help you stay on track and keep your presentation organized, while the extra details you fill in naturally as you give your presentation. You should use this same approach when it comes to interviews.
Make a summary/outline of all the important things you want to say, and review it enough that you can easily remember it during your interview. Don’t worry about memorizing every tiny detail, just focus on this outline and allow the details to be filled in naturally. This will keep your responses organized and ensure you don’t leave out any key information while also keeping the interview natural.
MISTAKE #2: Focusing Too Much On What YOU Get
Companies hire people because they see it as a mutual benefit. The new employee benefits from having a stable job, getting paid, and gaining work experience, while the company benefits from gaining a skilled new employee that can help the business. Too many people focus only on how they will benefit from being hired, but forget to also mention how the company will benefit from hiring them.
Here’s an example: Imagine you’re a hiring manager and you’re interviewing someone for a sales position. You just asked the question, ‘Why should we hire you?’.
Which answer sounds better to you?
“I really like the company’s environment. I think this seems like a great place to work and I would love to be part of the team. I love your products, agree with the company’s mission, and know I would be very happy working here.’
“I love sales and see this as an opportunity to really prove myself as a salesman. I know I have the skills to be a fantastic addition to your sales team, and I think the fast-paced working environment here would be a perfect fit for me. If you hire me, I will not only love working here, but I will become one of the best salesmen on your team and help the company grow.”
Answer two is a lot better because it emphasizes the mutual benefit that both the interviewee and company will enjoy.
MISTAKE #3: Not Giving Evidence of Your Success
While being arrogant is never good, an interview is not a time to be humble. A big problem a lot of people have during interviews is they talk about their work experience and education, but don’t share all their achievements/successes. When you’re describing your previous jobs during an interview, focus less on ‘experience’ and more on ‘achievement’.
Here’s an example: Imagine someone is being interviewed for a marketing position and is asked about their work experience. Which answer sounds better to you?
“I worked as an ad designer for my previous company for 3 years. During that time, I designed 16 separate ads for the company. I also helped control our marketing budget and managed a team of 5 marketing assistants. I love being creative and thinking of new ads, and know I would be a great addition to your team”
“I worked as an ad designer for my previous company for 3 years. During that time, I designed 16 separate ads for the company. Several of my online ads were so successful, that they allowed the company to increase profits by 20% last year. Because of this, I earned ‘Marketer of the Year’ for 2019, and was chosen by my boss to manage a team of 5 marketing assistants. I also was given control of the company’s marketing budget, and was able to reduce advertising costs by 15%. I think my creativity, management skills, and finance skills would all be great assets to your company, and should you hire me I know I would achieve similar results here.”
As you can see, answer #2 is much better because it has objective evidence that this person is a great marketer.
Interviews can be pretty scary, but anyone can make a fantastic impression if they prepare properly and go in with a game plan. If you have a big interview coming up and want some help getting ready, feel free to contact me. We’ll do all the preparation you need to feel confident, have great answers, make a fantastic impression, and get that job you’ve always wanted!
Thanks for reading, have a great day, and good luck in your next interview!
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