When sitting down for a job interview, the hiring manager can often tell when something is off. If an individual is bluffing, padding their resume, or talking about a skill they clearly don’t have, others will typically pick up on this, leaving a bad first impression. This is obviously something we want to avoid when looking for a new job.
If you feel there are areas of your work experience that are lacking, or you don’t have the resume for the job you want, there is no reason to still not apply. Often, employers look for more that just what’s on paper, like a candidate that is moldable, can grow, and is willing to learn.
We’ve rounded up some telltale mistakes people make when interviewing and trying to impress a potential boss. By avoiding these pitfalls, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to secure the job.
Chip On the Shoulder: Have you ever been around someone who always thinks they are right? It’s not a good look, particularly not in a job interview. There’s nothing wrong with having professional assertiveness and being confidant, and you should be able to hold an opinion and defend it. But stay away from smugness or an air of superiority. You’re not entitled to any job, no matter your qualifications, so don’t act like you’re doing an interviewer a favor by being there.
Too Many Rehearsed Answers: It’s a good idea to go over responses to some typical interview questions, but you want to avoid coming off like you’ve memorized exactly what you want to say. Interviewers are looking for people who can communicate and express themselves, not robots. And you don’t want to sound too sly. If you’re asked about past work failures, a response of “I’ve never had any” isn’t going to ring true. Be able to talk about yourself and your past work experience openly, candidly, and without giving canned responses.
Not Knowing Your Field — If you don’t seem to know enough about the field you are working in or applying to, that’s going to be a red flag. You must be able to speak with confidence about your area of expertise or, well, you won’t look like much of an expert. Even if you consider yourself an introvert, hirers want to hear you speak your knowledge, so be prepared for this. An interviewer can’t pull memories from your brain to get an idea of what you know; they’ll need to hear it from you. And being able to speak on your field shows you’re not trying to ramble on about a subject you don’t really know much about.
Black Holes in Employment History: An employer expects you to be able to remember your work experience and be able to talk about it. If an interviewer asks where you were two years ago and you reply “I don’t remember,” that’s going to raise eyebrows. Likewise, having years missing from a resume isn’t a good sign. In a job interview, you want to look like someone who is in demand, so be ready to explain any holes you might have in your history.
Constantly Changing Jobs: If you’re good at what you do, chances are bosses won’t let you go very easily. A string of short-lived jobs on your resume may show an interviewer you don’t have what it takes to stick it out, so avoid putting too many one-and-done jobs under your experience.