Humans are not perfect. We all make mistakes. This is why it is vital for candidates to acknowledge that errors will occur during an interview; trying to achieve a totally error free interview is both futile and counterproductive. If you are hyper-focused on a flawless delivery, you’ll be over stressed, unnecessarily nervy, and needlessly high-strung. The errorless interview is an impossible aim.
Rather than focus on perfection to a fault – potentially undermining your performance — focus on avoiding a smaller, more manageable shortlist of the most criminal interview mistakes. To start you off, here are three errors you should try never to make.
1. Not Providing Examples When Answering Questions
Research shows that the most reliable way to assess a candidate is by using behavioral interviewing techniques. Behavioral interview questions focus on past performance, e.g., “Give me an example of a time in your job when you faced this situation.” This question has a specific purpose: get you to provide concrete examples of how you have successfully managed the situation in question. Behavioral questions don’t want hypothetical answers; they want specific evidence of real performance.
Despite this, candidates still fail to respond to these questions correctly. That is, they don’t provide specific examples. According to a CareerBuilder study, failure to provide specific examples in answer to behavioral questions is one of the most common and detrimental mistakes candidates make. Make sure you prep for behavioral questions before the interview, so that you can give example-heavy, rather than hypothetical, answers.
2. Being Too Focused on Money and Not Focused Enough on Job Satisfaction
It’s right to be focused on money — in the right way at the right time. However, appearing fixated on money is a massive mistake often made by hungry candidates, and being so fixated can dent your chances of landing the job. Most good employers know that pay alone is not enough to get you excited about and engaged with your job — which is what employers want.
Research shows that what actually motivates workers, day in and day out, is a job that they find meaningful, empowering, career-nurturing, and fulfilling. This is why it’s a big mistake to be too fixated on money during the interview. Employers could see this as a sign that you are interested in the paycheck, not the job. People like that rarely make the best employees.
By all means, fight for the salary you deserve. At the same time, you need to demonstrate clearly that you find the job and the organizational culture to be meaningful and exciting. Make sure you prove to prospective employers that you are a perfect fit for the job. Ask pertinent questions and demonstrate your interest and curiosity.
Show the employer that the job/company itself is the main pull for you, and not the money. Failure to do this will seriously handicap your chances. Take heed of the fact that a CareerBuilder study found that the most detrimental interview mistake was appearing disinterested in the job.
3. Accepting the First Salary That Is Offered
This is not a ticket to be uncooperative and argumentative. If the employer has smashed the ball out of the park when it comes to their first amazing salary offer, it’s probably a mistake to contest it.
On the other hand, not negotiating a low-ball offer could mean you are leaving good money on the table, as 84 percent of employers expect candidates to negotiate salary. Furthermore, 70 percent of employers make lowball offers on purpose, fully expecting to be negotiated upwards. By accepting the first salary offered, you could be leaving up to around $5,000 a year on the table, suggests a study from George Mason and Temple Universities.
A word of caution: if you are to negotiate, make sure you conduct a reasonable and fair negotiation; know when to accept what is being offered as final. Pushing beyond the point of reason could harm your employment prospects.