How to Avoid Major Interview Mistakes Resources

Everyone makes mistakes. This is especially true during job interviews, when nervousness might cause you to get someone’s name wrong or jumble your words. That’s to be expected. But as longtime career journalist and consultant Robin Madell writes for U.S. News & World Report, there are other types of errors that are “more substantive” — and that might cost you a job offer. Madell outlines these in a post titled “The Top 5 Embarrassing Errors to Avoid in Your Job Interview,” and reading through her list, it’s possible to derive the following five tips.

1. Be Punctual — Sure, there are times when subways stall and cars break down, but more often than not, you’re in control of showing up on time. Do everything in your power to make your appointment, and if you think you’re going to be late, contact the office ASAP and see about rescheduling. If all of this seems obvious, nearly 30 percent of HR professionals surveyed in a 2013 Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania poll said that tardiness is the most common mistake they notice among jobseekers.

2. Show You’re No ‘Clock-Puncher’ — A “clock-puncher” is someone who lacks passion and simply wants to go through the motions from 9 to 5. If you show up and start asking about the typical work hours, rather than the nature of the job itself, you’ll quickly mark yourself foul. The key is to ask questions showing “interest, motivation, and smarts – all things a prospective employer likes to see,” according to CloudLock talent advisor Ed Nathanson.

3. Know Your Talking Points — Job interviews aren’t like talk-show segments, and you won’t necessarily be fed questions designed to let you shine. Madell recommends rehearsing the skills and experiences you’d like to highlight and finding ways to work them into the conversation.

4. But Also Be Present — While you should have those talking points ready, it’s key to listen to what the interviewer is saying and not let your mind wander. You don’t want to come across as “self-serving and overly rehearsed,” according to Amanda Mitchell of Our Corporate Life LLC.

5. Be a Pro from the Get-Go — Contrary to what many believe, the job interview doesn’t start after you’ve been called into the hiring manager’s office. It begins the second you walk in the door and greet the receptionist, so refrain from slouching and gabbing on that cell phone. If you present yourself as a professional the entire time, you’ll boost your chances of getting called back.

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