Two things in your financial life are always challenging: job interviews and buying a home. Both are challenging for the same reason and that’s because you don’t do it every day. Interestingly, Americans will change jobs and homes at about the same frequency: roughly every five years.
What tends to happen is trends in interviews and the real estate market can change a lot in five years. You come into both of those new environments uninformed and out of practice. Of the two, a job interview is the one most fraught with potential peril. Flubbing a job interview could mean losing out on your dream job, missing out on a salary increase or being trapped in a toxic office with a boss you hate. No one can nail an interview every time; it’s just not possible. The good news is you can vastly improve your odds just by avoiding these common mistakes.
You Don’t Prepare
You wouldn’t think about going to the DMV and taking a driver’s license test without looking through the manual, but it’s amazing how many people will show up unprepared at job interviews. You should know your qualifications for the job you’re applying for and be able to cite specific examples. You should have an elevator pitch ready when someone asks you to walk them through your resume.
You Can’t Define Your Experience With Numbers
Employers are looking for quantifiable results. Someone who can detail how they increased sales by thirty percent year over year has a much better chance of getting the job than someone who advertises themselves as a team player. Very few companies can afford to carry dead weight on the payroll these days. Every team member has to contribute and the people who survive layoffs are the ones constantly trumpeting their numbers.
Say You Want The Job
Saying, “I want this job. Hire me.” is a powerful close that escapes many people interviewing for jobs. Just saying those words will set you apart from ninety percent of the other interviewees who will not bother to say it. Be direct and be clear. I want this job. Even the most hardened, cynical hiring authority will be moved by those words. Companies love to hear those words; say them.
Prepare Just As Much For The Phone Interview
A phone interview is usually a method for winnowing the field down to a smaller number of candidates for in-person interviews. The object in a phone interview is to avoid being screened out early and get your foot in the door. Typically phone interviews are short and focused on qualifications. That’s what makes that elevator pitch overview of your resume so important.
If They Don’t Ask, Don’t Volunteer It
Another big mistake people make in interviews is talking too much. When words multiply, so do the chances that you’re going to talk yourself out of getting the job. Be clear and concise in your answers, answer the question directly, then shut up. If they don’t ask about charity or community service, don’t bring it up, unless it relates directly to some qualification for the job. Don’t volunteer anything about your religious affiliation and be immediately suspicious of anyone bringing it up as that’s out of bounds as an interview question.
Since you haven’t interviewed for a while, it’s a good idea to study up and take a little time to prepare. Review the common mistakes and, while you still might lose the job to someone better qualified, just make sure you don’t lose the job because you stumbled over something easy.