10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in an Interview

By Lauren Burmester

interview mistakesPreparation is essential to ensuring a successful interview.  Common mistakes made in an interview can be avoided by being prepared ahead of time. Below is a list of the top 10 common mistakes made in an interview and how to avoid them.

1. Unprepared for the Interview

Not doing your homework and not preparing adequately for the interview beforehand gives the impression that you are a disinterested and unprofessional candidate.

Be prepared to talk about your experience, education, skills, etc. listed on your resume and how they tie into the company and position in which you are applying.  Research the company so you can adequately talk about why you are interested in the company and how you fit in the company culture.

2. Inappropriate Dress for Interview

The most common mistake made by individuals is to show up dressed inappropriately to your interview. The first thing an employer will notice about you is the way you dress.  Showing up to an interview not dressed appropriately can give the impression that you are unprofessional or not taking the opportunity seriously.

You can find tips on how to dress professionally for an interview at: http://careers.erau.edu/land-offer/interviewing/prepare/index.html.

3. Tardiness

Being late to your interview will create a bad and lasting first impression to the employer.  You will have to work even harder during the interview to make up for the initial bad impression.

Research the location you will be interviewing at ahead of time.  If you are unsure of the area, make a practice run beforehand.  Make sure you know the directions, travel times, and transportation options so you can arrive on time.

4. Inability to Articulate Interview Answers

Being unable to clearly articulate your responses to the questions gives the impression that you are not prepared for the interview and may have poor communication skills.

Avoid this mistake by preparing and practicing your answers to typical interview questions beforehand.  Record yourself answering the questions so you can hear how you sound, if you use inflection in your voice or if you sound too rehearsed.  You can also practice with a friend, family member, or roommate and have them give you constructive feedback in preparation. 

5. Failing to Ask Good Questions

Failing to ask good questions can be as detrimental as asking no questions in an interview.  Having no questions at all indicates that you are not interested or have not taken the time to think about the opportunity.  Asking bad questions or simple questions that could have been easily answered by looking at the position description gives the impression that you are not fully interested in the position and did not prepare.

In preparation for the interview, think of questions that you want to ask so you can arrive with questions already in mind.  Ask questions about specific details of the position to show the interviewer you have a genuine interest in the position and the company.

6. Talking Too Much

Talking too much and telling the interviewer more than they need or want to know can make them lose interest quickly.  Make sure your answers are concise and relevant to the question.  The best way to ensure this is to practice answering interview questions before hand.

Practice with a friend or roommate.  Think about or write down your skills, education, and experience that tie into the job.  The information will then be fresh in your mind, and you will be well prepared.  You can also set-up a mock interview with a trusted adviser.

7. Being Over-Anxious

The simple fact is that interviews are stressful.  Nervous or over anxious behavior can be distracting to the interviewer.  Nervous or anxious mannerisms can distract the interviewer from what you are articulating.

Practicing and being well prepared for your interview can help take away some of the nervous feelings.

8. Being Negative

It is important to keep a positive tone throughout the interview.  Do not create a negative impression by complaining about previous jobs or former co-workers and managers.  When asked tricky or negative questions, make sure to be optimistic and do not get defensive.  Interviewers understand no one is perfect.  It is okay to talk about challenging or failed situations, but remember to remain positive and enthusiastic about what you learned from the experience.

9. Appearing Distracted

Avoid fidgeting with objects or anything while listening to or talking with the interviewer.  Clicking your pen, tapping your foot, playing with hair or clothing can all be distracting and irritating to the interviewer.   You want them to focus on what you are saying rather than what you are doing.  Using wild gestures or unnatural body language can be disconcerting and leave a bad impression.

10. Leaving on the Wrong Note

Closing the interview on a positive note is as important as opening positively.  You want to leave the interview making a good impression on the interviewer.  Leaving the interview with confidence and thanking the interviewer will ensure that you are remembered as a good candidate.   Don’t forget to follow-up after the interview by mail or e-mail reiterating your interest in the job and the company.

Review tips and advice on how to prepare for an interview so you can ace the interview and make a terrific impression on the interviewer by visiting the Career Services Office website at:  http://careers.erau.edu/land-offer/interviewing/index.html

Lauren Burmester is the Aviation Program Manager in Career Services.  She has been an employee with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2006 working in Advising and Admissions.  She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Studies with concentrations in Aviation Safety, Space Studies, and Business Administration, as well as a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics with a specialization in Safety Systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, graduating with distinction.  Lauren’s passion for the Aviation and Aerospace industry is instrumental in assisting students achieve their personal and professional goals.

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