January 20, 2014

Six things to definitely avoid at interviews

6avoidPerforming well at interviews requires more than just convincing the interviewer of your ability to add value to the organization. You also need to establish rapport because at the end of the day an employer will baulk at hiring you if they suspect they cannot work with you, even though they may think you’re the most qualified candidate.

To improve your likeability at an interview there are certain behaviours that need to be avoided at all costs. Here are six big ones:

1. Never Argue.
Avoid arguing even if you know you’re right. Some interviewees will argue because they want to demonstrate their extensive knowledge or they want to show that they know better. Unfortunately for them the only thing they succeed in demonstrating to the interviewer is that they’re predisposed to arguing. Unless you’re applying for a job as a professional debater avoid this.

2. Avoid Eating & Drinking
If food or drink is offered politely decline (except for a glass of water). Interviews are fraught with stress. The last thing you want to be doing is eating under such circumstances. Also, you just don’t want to risk getting crumbs down your shirt.

3. Avoid Being Overly Merry.
In an attempt to demonstrate what happy people they are some interviewees go into an interview amplifying their happy characteristics. They smile excessively, laugh too much, nod too much, agree too much and generally go out of their way to please. Unfortunately, they often come across as insincere or far too nervous and can easily grate upon the interviewer.

4. Don’t Interrupt the Talkative Interviewer
Interviewees often tell me how frustrated they are when they’re confronted by a talkative interviewer who loves the sound of his/her voice. Interviewees worry about not being given the time to sell themselves, so in desperation they tend to interrupt the interviewer with the admirable purpose of pointing out what they can bring to the organization. Avoid this.

On the whole, the more an interviewer talks the more he/she likes you. It’s when they don’t like you that they start asking you really difficult questions. So next time you’re faced by the talkative interviewer smile and acknowledge his/her points. When you do get a chance to say something it helps enormously if you have a short “knock-out” statement (no longer that about 4-5 sentences) up your sleeve summarizing why you should get the job.

5. Avoid Meandering Answers
Interviewers absolutely hate the meandering answer, i.e., the answer that goes all over the place before it addresses the question (if ever it does). Often interviewers may be interviewing all day so the last thing they want to hear is someone waffle. The more you meander the less impressive you will be. Get to the point quickly – you’ll be doing yourself a great favour.

6. Keep Your End Questions To A Minimum
It is customary to be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Whilst it’s good to have one or two well thought out questions, make sure you:

• Avoid asking potentially embarrassing questions. The last thing you want to do is risk making the interviewer look foolish.
• Avoid asking too many questions unless you absolutely have to. On the whole interviewers do not enjoy role reversals. They’re the ones asking the questions not you.

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