Simple Job Interview Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Jun 30, 2017 | Careers

One of the most intimidating parts of the job search is the interview. When you sit down for a job interview, the hiring team’s priority is to determine if you would be a good fit for their job and their company. This goes beyond evaluating your skills; hiring managers will also be looking at your personality and your conduct before, during, and after the interview.

At Neese Personnel, we’ve helped thousands of job seekers in Oklahoma City nail their interviews and land great jobs. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common interview mistakes to avoid so you can have the upper hand in your next job interview.


Mistake #1: Dressing Too Casually

Job interviews are a chance for you to make a great first impression and sell yourself to the employer. To that end, it’s important to present yourself as a good investment for the company. Imagine yourself, then, as something you’re selling. You want to make sure your outfit presents you in a good light, just like a product’s packaging can help sell its contents.

One way to ensure you’re dressed for success? Visit the organization beforehand and see what other employees are wearing. If most people are wearing suits  and ties, you’ll need to make sure yours is ready for interview day as well. If the dress code looks more casual, you can dress it down a bit (but avoid jeans and T-shirts!).


Mistake #2: Strengths and Weaknesses

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” This is one of the most common interview questions across all industries, but many candidates don’t know how to answer it. The key to this question is to use it as an opportunity to talk about yourself, but (and this is important!) not to brag.

When discussing your strengths, don’t be too humble. Make sure you describe in detail what makes you a good employee and a good worker in your field, and give examples if you have them. Discussing weaknesses can be trickier – you want to be honest but you don’t want to undercut yourself. Instead of telling your future boss about your chronic lateness or system of organized messes, describe some mistakes you made in the past and what you learned from them. In other words, try to demonstrate that you are able to recognize your own mistakes and fix them yourself.


Mistake #3: Badmouthing Your Last Job

Job interviews often present opportunities for you to talk about previous jobs. But this can be a double-edged sword: if your employer was nice you might like talking about them, but if you didn’t like your work or your boss you could have a hard time. One thing to remember is, even if you didn’t like your work environment, you should avoid talking badly about a previous employer.

There are several reasons you should avoid being negative about old jobs:

  • It makes you look like you’re not a team player;
  • You could accidentally say something unkind about a connection or friend of your interviewer (especially if your job is in the same industry);
  • It turns the tone of the conversation negative, which can affect the way the interviewer thinks of you.

Instead of being negative, even if you didn’t like your old job, try to focus on the positive aspects. Talk about your own personal successes and triumphs, and leave out the bits you were unhappy with.


Mistake #4: Not Asking Questions

One thing many potential employees forget is that an interview isn’t just for the employer to get a sense of you as an employee. It’s also for you to get a sense of the company. To that end, you should try to ask relevant questions that prove you are interested in the job, the company, and the industry.

Not sure what kind of questions to ask? Here are a few common examples:

  • Ask for specific details about the job. What would your daily or weekly schedule look like? What are the top goals for this position?
  • Ask about your position and team. For instance, who would you report to? Would you be part of a team or the only person in your position? Is this a new position or did someone else have it before you?
  • Ask about the company and the industry. How to they plan to grow? What challenges and opportunities are there in this industry? What sets their company apart?

In short, try to be curious and engaged, especially if you’re moving into a new field or industry. Avoid asking questions about things like benefits and vacation time unless the interviewer brings them up.


Mistake #5: Not Following Up

The single most common interview mistake for most candidates is forgetting to follow up. Remember, the interview isn’t over when you walk out the door. Always send a short message such as a note or email thanking the employer for the opportunity. Follow-ups should be brief, professional, and punctual – try to send one within 24 hours after your interview.

Want to land more interviews and get a chance for a great career? At Neese Personnel, we help job seekers in Oklahoma City find the perfect opportunity for their skills and experience. Call us today at 405-942-8551 to learn more and explore the opportunities available to you!