The beginning of the year is when a lot of people start new jobs. For some people, it’s their first step in their career path but before you get to that, you have to get through job interviews first. I saw a BuzzFeed article that talked about red flags with interviewees and it got me thinking about uncommon mistakes I have made during job interviews.
Those were some hard lessons and were especially disappointing when I got rejections for jobs I really wanted. I don’t want you guys to make the same mistakes as me. There are obvious ones like:
- Don’t be late
- Be friendly to everyone
- Make eye contact with your interviewers (or multiple if it’s a group interview)
But then there are the uncommon mistakes which is what I’ll be talking about.
1) Skip the Perfume
The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your interviewers with a strong perfume scent. They’re going to be with you for 30 mins to an hour. Would you want to be stuck in a room with someone who has such a potent smell? This one might not be as applicable compared to the other ones considering many companies are taking an online approach for interviews but one to keep in mind nonetheless. I once saw a girl that had such a strong perfume scent before her interview. She probably wanted to smell good (we all do) but it was too much. We weren’t heading to the same room but I thought, ‘oh, good luck to her interviewers. Her perfume is giving me a headache.’
2) Interviewers Never Ask a Question for No Reason
If they throw you a question seemingly out of the blue, they’re probably trying to catch you off guard to see how you handle it. I don’t know why this isn’t talked about more. For example, there was a time where two hiring managers asked me if I can be a baking utensil, what would I be? I was surprised because I didn’t expect that at all. I told them I needed a minute because I don’t know about you, but I have never thought about what baking utensil I would want to be in my spare time. Do you? I ended up saying a bowl because it’s versatile. I always eat with a bowl because it brings me comfort. Although I doubt there was a correct answer, it’s something I think about quite often. The question was certainly memorable.
3) Asking the Same Question Twice
If the employer is asking you the same question twice, give them another answer. A hiring manager once asked me how I would describe myself. I said warm, friendly, and considerate. This was during a group interview with other candidates. I passed and had this same question during my individual interview. I was confused. Did the interviewer not hear me the first time? It could be because there were other candidates during the first round of interviews. Also, our answers were quite similar as well. So I repeated my answer. It was a mistake. Or one of the mistakes I’ve made during this interview.
I should have taken this opportunity and talked about my other good traits. I should have said something like, ‘Earlier, I described myself as warm, friendly, and considerate but I’m also x, y, and z.’ There are many good traits you have. List other ones instead of repeating yourself. I doubted this was the one reason I didn’t get the job but it’s another of those interview questions that I kept going back to and thinking about ‘what if.’
4) Be Honest/Do Your Research
Another one was when the hiring manager asked me if I planned on going back to school. I remember thinking to myself to say no. She could have been worried about me leaving the job soon to get a master’s. I wanted to it clear that I wasn’t. I told her I had no plans to go back to school because I graduated from university not that long ago. Another mistake. I found out later that it was normal for this company to send their employees to get a certificate for the industry. Okay, my bad. I was pretty excited about this opportunity because I actually knew someone at that firm. I was confident because I had a connection so it was disappointing to get a rejection. Again, this answer may have made or break the final decision
Be honest with the company if you are against going back to school! Do your research! It would have taken some digging to know that the company sends their employees for some schooling. I didn’t do enough research so I didn’t know. Getting an interview is already one step closer to getting the job. Don’t be lazy and research the company thoroughly.
5) Make Mental Notes During the Interview
Keep in mind during the interview of topics you’ve discussed that were interesting and ask questions at the end of the interview. It shows you have an interest in the company and conversation than to say, ‘no, I’m good. I have no questions.’ By getting an interview with the hiring manager, they’ve already made the candidate pool smaller. You have to make yourself stand out because you want the job and have no idea how the other candidates performed.
Ask about 3-5 questions. Did the interviewer talk about some company perks earlier in the conversation and you didn’t have a chance to ask? Or was there something in the job description that you were curious about? Now is the time to get the answer. Employers want you to interact with them. It’s a two-way street so don’t be shy.
6) Send Thank-You Notes
This is an important step that I hate to admit I’ve forgotten to do in the past. Here is an article that gives pretty good examples on what to write in your thank you notes (https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-write-an-interview-thankyou-note-an-email-template). There was a time when my college professor interviewed two candidates. The team couldn’t decide who to choose. They were both pretty similar. Do you know how they made their final decision? One sent a thank you note and one did not. You can guess who they went with. A thank-you note might seem insignificant but it only takes a few minutes to write. You never know. You might beat the other candidates with just this one extra step. There are already so many factors you can’t control in the job hunting process but you can control this step. Please don’t forget this. You don’t want to make these kinds of mistakes.
It’s been hard for everyone the past year. The economy isn’t doing and many people are looking for jobs. I hope these 6 tips are useful so that you won’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. Good luck to everyone in their job search! Feel free to share your job interview process in the comments down below.