Don’t undermine your skills by these mistakes in interviews.
A lot has happened around the world this year that has impacted jobs of many. Isolation, job losses, income insecurities; we have a lot to deal with. There are some really strong talented applicants out there that can become tough competition.
Hard skills for certain jobs are in demand. Focusing only on matching those is a great start, but to maximize your chances and not to spoil success at interviews, it’s good not to forget about the basics. It’s a bit disappointing when highly skilled individuals rule themselves out because of poor soft skills.
Here are 4 examples I notice often that can be easily omitted:
How much casualness in the interview is too much?
Remote working, startup culture and similar other trends brought certain casualness into businesses and requirements, for example smart attire is no longer required for an interview. In the times when we can easily get a job from the comfort of our living room, interviewing online, many applicants forget that the interview is still a professional and business related conversation. Although what you wear is not as important as 20 years ago and rightly so, professional conduct is still required to show your potential employer your day to day manners. Managers try to make the interview atmosphere relaxed, to eliminate unnecessary pressure on you, but don’t mistake it and start behaving as if you were meeting a friend for a drink. Smoking/vaping, cursing, and similar practices are still very much frowned upon and will very likely rule you out of the process.
Can honesty harm?
Being honest, what’s wrong with that, right? It’s really not about being dishonest, more than evaluating how to be honest without coming across disrespectful or critical when conversation stirs to bad experience, disagreements or reasons why you want to leave the company. If you respect others and can empathise with others you will never criticize bluntly. It does not reflect well on any candidate being judgemental or critical of their colleagues, other people’s work, management of the company whether current or past, no matter how right they may be. It’s good to stick to the relevant areas of your expertise. Interview time is best used to focus on your work, your accomplishments and yourself rather than others. There’s no better tip than the golden rule that applies to this “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing.
You don’t have to be perfect! This is the time to be honest.
Most employers are not looking for perfection. Good companies and managers want to know where you may need support and further development, for no other reason than to support you in improving those areas. Have some real examples ready if they ask you about your weaknesses. It’s not a question to catch you. This question is asked to show how you can deal with “not being perfect” and mainly “how willing you are to improve and receive feedback”. Many candidates thinking they must get everything right or they can’t show any mistakes, or similarly presenting their flaws as virtues, can only appear unrealistic. We are all human beings, we don’t know everything there is to know and we all can learn more. Do you want to highlight honesty as your virtue? Then here is the right time to be honest about where you need to improve, and have a plan how you can do it (or even better – how you are already working on it). Managers are not afraid to hire people who don’t tick all the boxes on the wish list, but they may think twice before hiring someone who they think will be reluctant to change or improve.
Being headhunted is not a fast track lane to the job.
It is flattering or at least a nice compliment when a recruiter approaches you. But approaching passive candidates is a very common recruitment practice these days in many sectors. Being approached or headhunted never guarantees anyone success in the interview process if they don’t show sufficient commitment or interest in the opportunity.
Once you expressed your interest, you should take it seriously and put some time in the preparation for interviews just as you would if you applied for the job yourself. If you’re not genuinely interested after the initial conversation with the recruiter, it’s better to be open about your doubts and leave it at that.
As you noticed, the basic rules in the interview are fairly common sense, but you’d be surprised how many candidates fail to consider them important. Little things can make a huge difference in the impression you make on your potential employer. We hope that you find the information helpful and you find the job that will offer you all you are looking for.
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Technical & Operations Recruiter | Ammeon