4 Most Common Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs


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If you have an upcoming job interview, you’re likely worried about saying or doing something that could hurt your chances of getting the job. What you might not know is there are some things you’re probably doing wrong that you’re not even aware of. Here are the four most common job interview mistakes to avoid at all costs.

1. Trashing a former employer

Did you despise your former boss? It’s in your best interest to keep that information to yourself. When asked about previous employers, do your best to speak positively. Speaking about your former employer in an unflattering way just makes you look bad.

Marielle Smith, vice president of people at GoodHire, says trashing a former employer just shows interviewers who you really are—someone they don’t want on their team. “In my opinion, if you trash a previous employer, or expose a lack of ethical business acumen, there’s no recovery from that. It’s disrespectful, and such actions show employers what type of an employee you would be, and that’s probably not the type of person they’re looking for,” said Smith.

2. Submitting an outdated resume

We know the job search can be tiring, but that isn’t an excuse to ignore your resume. Take time to update your resume with current job information. Don’t forget to make sure your work history is tailored to fit each job you apply for.

Robin Schwartz, a managing partner at MFG Jobs, told The Cheat Sheet you can recover from this mistake by bringing an updated resume with you to the interview. “You should always go to an interview with at least a few hard-copy versions of your correct resume. Simply apologize when handing over the newest version and state that your resume has been updated since your initial application,” says Schwartz.

3. Not asking for clarity

If you’ve been on enough interviews, chances are you might have received a question from an interviewer that you didn’t understand. You might feel embarrassed if you don’t understand a question, but it’s best to ask for clarification. The worst thing you could do is guess what the interviewer meant and try to answer a question you don’t understand.

Mark Anthony Dyson, a career consultant and founder of The Voice of Job Seekers, says winging it could result in answering the question incorrectly. “The candidate can walk away from the interview believing he or she killed it, but never really answer the questions asked or establish any rapport,” says Dyson.

4. Lack of enthusiasm

Going on job interviews can be nerve-wracking, and you’re likely exhausted from the search. However, it’s important to stay motivated. Employers are looking for candidates who are excited about the position and the company. You should know what the company’s mission is, how the role you’re applying for fulfills the mission, and be excited about helping the company reach its goal. Looking bored or uninterested could cause the interviewer to pass you over for someone else.

Adrian Ridner, CEO & co-founder of Study.com, says it’s important to show enthusiasm for the company’s mission. “Sometimes candidates don’t let their passion for the company’s mission shine through. Employers look for candidates who are as excited about the mission as they are. If you’re not showing your interest in the mission, you give off the impression you may not be a fully engaged employee,” says Ridner.

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