Past Issues

December 22, 2008

The Worst Interview Mistakes To Avoid

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The Worst Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Ross Macpherson, Resume Writer & Career Success Coach, and creator of AwesomeInterviews.com

I have something important to remind you... The interview, not the resume, determines who gets the job!

So many people treat the interview as if it will take care of itself, and therefore they make the same critical errors. The fact is that far more interviews are LOST than won, so I want to show you the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid. Follow this advice and you're already ahead of the game.

1. Not preparing properly

Too many people I coach, those that aren't getting any job offers, are walking in to their interviews ill-equipped and ill-prepared to make a great impression. Good preparation means doing intelligent and thoughtful research so that you know what you need to know about the company, knowing yourself and what you specifically can offer to this company in this role, and practicing to the point that you can handle virtually any question they throw at you.

2. Not thinking "strategically"

Many people are under the mistaken impression that it's up to the interviewer to figure out if you're the best candidate. This is not true. It's your job to prove that you are the best candidate. Your goal is to make certain that they hear how qualified you are by the end of the interview

Most people just hope an interview goes well, but if you want to succeed in an interview you have to think strategically. An interview is a competition - there's only one winner, and you need to think "What do I need to do and say in this interview to be the best candidate? What do they need to hear to select me?" Instead of hoping you win, think strategically and plan to win!

3. Not starting strong

Here's the fact - it takes 3 minutes for the interviewer to make his/her first impression. Starting strong means greeting the interviewer with confidence, being personable, conducting yourself professionally, and nailing the first couple questions (in my opinion, "Tell me about yourself" is often the most important question they ask, and one of the most important questions you need to know how to answer well).

4. Not being able to "articulate" your value

Knowing your specific value to this company in this role is a big part of your preparation, but being able to then articulate this value in a clear, professional, and intelligent manner is just as important. It boils down to just good communications skills, and there are two ways to improve your communication skills in an interview: 1) practice or 2) get the help of a professional interview coach, and then practice some more.

5. Not putting their mind at ease

With most job opportunities there may be at least one qualification that you don't have - maybe its lack of industry experience, lack of a degree or specific accreditation they've asked for, lack of enough experience in a certain skill, it could be anything.

In interviews, many people are screened out for something they lack rather than the other way around. So they need to believe that if you don't have it, you can learn it quickly, or you'll get it, or you have another skill that makes up for it. Don't give them the opportunity to make a big deal out of something you lack -- put their mind at ease, find an answer that eliminates their concern, and then they'll select you based on what you can offer rather than eliminate you for something you can't.

Remember, a superior resume is valuable because it gets you the interview -- but superior interviewing skills will get you the job! Improve your interviewing skills, learn the best practices and strategies to succeed, and you will consistently get the offers you want.

Ross Macpherson is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Career Success Coach with over 12 years of experience in career development and training. Ross is described as "one of the best resume writers anywhere ... period," his work can be found in 9 leading "how to" career books and industry publications including Awesome Interviews: Advanced Strategies to Ace any Interview and Get the Job Offer! The only program available dedicated to teaching you advanced interviewing techniques. To learn more, go to AwesomeInterviews.com .

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