5 Modern Interview Mistakes You Can Avoid Today

interview mistakes

Interviewing has changed over the years. And so have the mistakes that you could make while interviewing. We’re going to cover the five most common modern interview mistakes that you could make in 2019 and into the future.

What do we mean by interviewing has changed? Traditionally, interviewing was a very personable process. It was more of a conversation than it was a test. And because of that, there was more opportunity to show your personality. Personality goes a long way in developing a connection with your interviewer.

When you aren’t able to express your unique self through the interview, how are you going to stand out? That’s the problem. This shift in interviewing happened thanks to the technology sector, which has opened hundred of thousands of positions for new graduates.

Mistakes Are Hard To Avoid

Let’s be honest, interviewing is difficult. If you are wanting to avoid mistakes, know that even with our best tips below, there’s a high likelihood something you’ll do won’t be perfect. And you’ll be left wondering why you haven’t heard back from the interviewer yet. Don’t stress yourself out. A small amount of preparation goes a significant way in being in the top 10% of the interviewee’s that are interviewing.

In short, there’s not going to be a perfect interview. Make amends with yourself now and recognize this is the reality of modern interviewing.

Types Of Mistakes You Can Make

There are a few types of mistakes that you can make. Generally speaking, the three mistakes are classified as the following:

In these three area’s, you can make a simple mistake by simply not seeming as though you are genuinely interested in the position. Being aware of these three zones while in the interview process will go a significant way.

We’re going to dig into the five biggest mistakes you can make and how each one of those applies to these areas.

Related: 18 Signs Of A Bad Interview (And How To Spot Them)

5 Worst Mistakes You Can Make

These mistakes are modern, meaning 2019 and beyond. While reading other guides you may see mistakes such as sharing too much information. While that’s true, sharing too much information is bad, it’s actually not relevant. What is relevant, for example, is not being brief with your interview answers.

Let’s get started.

Mistake 1: Not Being Proactive About The Interview

This is a huge mistake and one that feels difficult for most people. When you apply for an interview and don’t follow up you are eliminating yourself from the process altogether. When job postings are listed online or even on a career center, thousands of applicants come in every day.

This means your competition for being asked to interview is steep. You want to get the interview. The only way to do that is to ensure that you are truly standing out. You can follow up on your job application or better yet, find the HR managers LinkedIn profile and start reaching out to them there.

Fixing This Mistake In Advance

Be proactive about your application. Be sure that you are reaching out to the correct employee’s within the company and asking them how you can get an interview. By being proactive you add to your personal branding (IE: They’re aware of who you are) and show passion towards getting hired.

Mistake 2: Not Knowing About The Company

This is another common mistake. Being prepared about behavioral interview questions like, “What makes you unique?” is really important. But if you don’t know a lot of details about the company, you are going to be perceived as a low-level candidate.

You should know details about the company, like their ethics, their goals, the products they sell, who their customers are, what they’re working on, what the environment is like. All of this is going to accompany the question you might be asked, “What do you know about our company?”

Fixing This Mistake In Advance

Spend considerable amounts of time before your interview reading through press releases, corporate information, public record and investor reports to find out what the compass of the company is. Then be sure you are bringing your own passion to that and alluding to it as much as possible in your interview. Appear as though you already work at the company.

Mistake 3: Not Knowing About Your Interviewer

Sometimes you aren’t going to be aware of who you interview with, especially during phone interviews. But when you are on-site then you’ll have the advantage of knowing who the person is by the calendar invite you receive.

If you can take time in advance to know more information about the interviewer, like their previous job history, you can be more proactive in the conversation that you’re going to have with them. And you’ll have the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions that they’re going to be passionate about as well, developing that ideal chemistry and connection.

Fixing This Mistake In Advance

Spend time before your interview investigating the person you are about to interview with. Search their name in Google, find them on LinkedIn. Get an idea of their previous job history and the job function they currently have at the company. Prepare at least 5 questions you can ask them.

Mistake 4: Not Communicating Briefly & With Confidence

This is one of the hardest challenges for interviewers. Preparing your answers in advance will ensure that you know how to answer tricky questions and interview questions that seem off-putting like, “What is your ideal work environment?” But even with preparation, delivery is a skill. You need to be able to deliver your answers with brevity. This will ensure that they have an impact.

When you answer a short interview question like, “If you were an animal, what would you be?" with an answer that takes 5-10 minutes to talk through, you’re going to be perceived as lacking communication skills as well as professional skills.

Your body language communicates a lot about your confidence, when you combine great body language with brevity and clarity of your interview answers, you will be perceived as a confident candidate. And confident candidates will get paid more as well as be trusted with the job function. If you want to learn how to exude confidence in your interview, read our guide here.

Fixing This Mistake In Advance

Practice the delivery of your interview questions. You can look up what the most common questions you might get asked are going to be. But once you’ve done that be sure that you sit down with a friend and practice the brevity and impact of your delivery. You don’t want any answer you say to take more than 3 minutes to answer.

Mistake 5: Not Following Up

Similar to the first mistake that’s often made, not following up with the interviewer after the interview is going to make it appear as though you aren’t interested. Additionally, the interviewer might simply have forgotten to follow up with you and get you a second round of interviews or potentially send you an offer letter.

If you follow up, you will proceed with the professionalism and leadership that you have presented (ideally) inside of the interview.

Fixing This Mistake In Advance

This fix is awfully simple, all you have to do is learn how to write a follow-up email, put it together and send it. It’s also a good idea to thank the people that you interviewed with as well. Even if the interview goes south, you want that polite thank you to apply to your personal brand and reputation. It sounds simple but it works. By not thanking everyone, you could be perceived as difficult to work with or unappreciative of the time that the team provided you.

Other Mistakes To Avoid

Other guides will tell you that things like flirting are a bad thing. And they are. But in 2019, does it really need to be said? You should know that you need to present yourself as a professional in your interview. That means dressing the part, bringing the right equipment with you to the interview, as well as having a general plan for your communication techniques throughout the interview.

If you don’t know how to be professional, then you might want to take a step back and get an internship so that you can get a better grasp of the professional world. This isn’t a negative by the way. Many people who are transitioning from more of a labor style role to an office role may want to go through an internship or externship before starting to apply and interview to full-time roles.

What Happens If You Make Mistakes In Your Interview

If you feel like you’ve made a number of mistakes in your interview, what do you do? The reality is, you can try to correct it by asking for a second round of interviews. This means coming clean to the interviewer and saying, “I don’t think I performed that interview well and is there a chance I can interview again?”

But the likelihood of that happening is going to be quite low. Instead, focus on trying to apply for more positions and think about how you can learn from the mistakes you made in the first interview, practice your delivery once more, and then get into your second set of interviews with another company. Essentially, move on.

How Can You Tell If You Aced Your Interview

If you don't think you've made any mistakes, there are a few sure-fire ways to tell that the interview went well. Length, as well as interviewer engagement, are some of the ways that can give you indicators of a positive interview. Though, even positive interviews don't always end in employment offers. If you are curious about what signs make up a good interview, read our guide here.

Related: 10 Signs An Interview Went Well (Signs For Interview Pros)

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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