Top 3 interview mistakes:
Being told you were unsuccessful in interview is a brutal blow but it is important to view each interview as a learning experience, quickly identify where you fell down and make the necessary changes to ensure that next time round you get over the line. To help you critically assess your performance, I have outlined below the five most common interview mistakes.
Being too vague in interviews
Talking in generalities is the death knell of any interview. To get the interest of your future employer, you’ll need to give strong, concrete examples of your strengths, highlighting your achievements in quantifiable terms. Use “I” instead of “we” – your thumbprint needs to be all over the examples. So, if you’re highlighting your change management skills – you could use a specific example of where you reorganised the work flow of a team. Clearly outline the result by showing the percentage increase in productivity/quality/efficiencies. Once an employer can visualise your contribution, you will capture their undivided attention!
Not understanding the hiring manager’s perspective
Hiring mangers have a one track mind – they know their challenges and want somebody who can fix them. At it’s most basic level, they want somebody to make their lives easier.
By understanding the world from their perspective, you’ll understand their pinch points. You can tailor your message and focus on the particular skills and experiences that are valuable to them. This is where market research and getting good information from insiders is valuable. Eg. if you know staff retention is an issue, hone in on your leadership skills and coaching style. If they’ve recently moved to a matrix structure, hone in on your stakeholder management skills.
Not researching the company enough
Why is this important? Let’s face it, we all have egos – even large corporations. Showing you have taken the time to research an organisation not only is very flattering, it also shows that you have a genuine interest in them and have invested time in getting background information in them, their competitors and the industry sector. It helps position you in a more strategic, commercial light which will prove that not only are you good for the immediate role but that you could be groomed for future development in the company.
Interviewing is an acquired skill and it takes time and effort to perfect your technique. By being open to constructive feedback and ready to learn from your mistakes, success will soon follow.
About the Author
Laura McGrath is a qualified executive coach, EMCC Certified with over 20 years’ experience in executive search and recruitment. She’s the owner of Interview Techniques, a leading provider of interview and career coaching services and has been a guest lecturer with Trinity College Dublin and TU Dublin. She’s given master interview classes with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. For a consultation, please call 087 669 1192 or go to https://interviewtechniques.ie/contact/