By Mike Travis
Sadly, many candidates make simple missteps that quickly terminate their candidacies. Here are the most common mistakes I’ve seen in 20 years of executive recruiting:
- Poor Preparation
Thanks to the Internet, everything you could want to know about a potential employer and the person with whom you will be interviewing is at your fingertips. If you don’t bother to prepare, the interviewer will conclude you’re not very interested, or worse, that you’re lazy.
- Lack of Energy
Low energy is usually perceived as a lack of interest. If you’re naturally reserved, make an extra effort to show vitality.
- Lack of Confidence
Poor self-esteem is the most common reason careers stall or derail. Fixing it is a long-term project, but in the context of an interview you must learn to mask your insecurities. If you don’t, the hiring manager will ask herself, “If this guy doesn’t believe in himself, why should I?”
- Talking Too Much
Be direct and succinct when answering questions. Many candidates get nervous and ramble on and on. They unintentionally send a message that they are poor listeners.
- Evading Questions
Any good interviewer will ask difficult or uncomfortable questions. The best way to answer them is with a direct, honest answer. Evasion makes you appear insecure, and only prompts the interviewer to dig deeper.
An interview is supposed to be a conversation. People who oversell destroy the conversation with a one-sided pitch. They also unintentionally send a message of desperation.
- Being Stiff
One purpose of the interview is to determine if the two parties have compatible personalities. That means you need to be yourself. Candidates who are stiff are afraid to let their personalities show, and that makes them come across as boring robots.