It's tough to find a good job. And making sure you ace an interview can be key to landing a great position. Financial expert Mark Lamkin explains five common mistakes people make at job interviews.
1. Forgetting the Interviewer's Name
When you go to a job interview, your interviewers all have a piece of paper with your name on it, but for you it's not so simple. To prepare yourself, ask for the names of anyone who'll be interviewing you when you schedule the job interview. Repeat them to remember them, and when you get to the interview and meet everyone, repeat their names back to them so you'll remember who is who.
2. Getting Lost and Arriving Late
There's no excuse for this one - unless the company relocated overnight. Look up directions to the interview ahead of time online. Then, if possible, do a practice run to make sure you know where you're going. And give yourself plenty of time to get there on the day of the interview. Allotting for twice the estimated amount of travel time will ensure you arrive on time, and you'll even have a chance to catch your breath, check your teeth for parsley and give yourself a pep talk.
3. Completely Blanking on a Tough Question
Taking a moment to collect your thoughts before answering a difficult question is absolutely acceptable. Most of us have had the experience of hearing their question and having absolutely no clue how to even begin answering it.
Questions like, "What is your biggest weakness?," "Why are you looking for a job?," "What are your salary requirements?" and "Where do you see yourself in five years?" are truly difficult to answer. But if you practice them ahead of time, rehearsing your answers over and over, you'll handle them with ease during the interview. The job interview is not the time to ad-lib or make it up as you go along.
4. Not Offering References
Leading your interviewers on a wild goose chase as they try to track down your bad references, or worse yet, giving them none at all, is equivalent to raising the white flag of surrender during your job search. Getting a job isn't a one-person task, it requires a team, and your job references are a big part of that team.
Bring a list of at least three current, reachable job references to every interview and include their phone numbers and email addresses.
5. Not Asking Questions
The last question of almost every job interview is, "So, what questions do you have for us?" and "none" is not an acceptable answer. Not having any questions for the interviewer signals to them that you are unprepared, uninterested or uncaring about the job and your prospects for it.
Asking pointed, well thought-out questions of your interviewers shows them you've been paying attention, you care enough to prepare for the interview and you understand that a job is a two-way street. Bring five to seven thoughtful questions that show you've researched the company and are prepared for the job.
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