How To Prepare For A Job Interview: Avoid Mistakes By Going Back To The Basics


When preparing for an interview, it is easy to put so much of our attention on highlighting our unique expertise and experience that we overlook the simple but important principles of a good interview. So how do you prepare for a job interview? Turn back to the basics. Here are a few mistakes that interviewees make which are surprisingly common even at the executive level. Luckily, you’re in the right place–once we become aware of these mistakes, they are easily avoided.

  • Perhaps the simplest and most common mistake is being late to the interview. It seems obvious: you are trying to make a good impression, so being on time is important. In fact the reason candidates are often late is that they focus too much on the preparation of their image and impression, getting distracted when choosing the right tie or set of earrings. We tend to tighten our focus and forget about the most basic things.
  • Cutting off the interviewer and providing irrelevant answers is also surprisingly common. It is important to practice for an interview, but what happens with many candidates is that they hear the interviewer begin a question and make an assumption about what they are going to ask. Because of their nervousness, they will jump to give their prepared answer without knowing what the interviewer was really asking, making a bad impression by cutting him or her off. Remember to take a deep breath and really listen to the question being asked, allowing a moment of silence before you answer.
  • Another mistake that is easy to make is to talk over the interviewer. Candidates want to be well prepared for an interview and should have acquired a great deal of knowledge about the company and potential job, as well as be intimately familiar with their own qualifications. Unfortunately, this often backfires as the interviewee rushes to communicate that they have done this, blurting out knowledge without mindfulness of its relevance. Preparation is important, but mindfulness in the moment of the interview is what really makes the difference.
  • It is important to appear professional. Unfortunately, interviewees often take this too far, curbing their enthusiasm in an attempt to appear collected and professional. Interviewers like enthusiastic applicants. Those who are enthusiastic about what they do are often more creative, and always more fun to work with. Let your genuine enthusiasm shine through and you will accomplish something that could never be done with a resume, setting you apart from other applicants.

As for the final word, an old cliche is worth remembering: Just be yourself! Authenticity is essential, making or breaking a candidate who is excellent in all other respects. People have a natural eye for authenticity, and an interviewer will be able to tell whether you are being yourself or just playing a part. Remember to avoid common mistakes, be yourself, and relax; you’ll do just fine.

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