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Avoid These 10 Job Interview Mistakes That Make You Seem Unqualified

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Summary: Avoid these mistakes to make a great impression and appear more qualified at your job interview.

In my ten years experience hiring employees, I may have seen it all. Despite their real qualifications, job candidates quickly eliminate themselves from the running by making mistakes that make them seem unqualified. Avoid these mistakes to give yourself a better chance of passing your interview.

1) Not Knowing What Is on Your Resume

You can expect that a significant portion of your interview will be about your qualifications and experience. By the time you have made it to your interview, you can trust that your interviewer has read your resume and probably has a few questions.

Don’t let some obscure fact that you put on your resume a decade ago catch you off guard. Before you even apply for a job, it is imperative to make sure your resume is impeccable (see Give Your Resume a Makeover). Also make sure you know your resume and everything on it. Be ready to discuss any qualifications listed. Your preparation will show, and if you are unsure it will make you seem less qualified.

2) Dressing Inappropriately

To look smart, dress smart. Depending on the job, there could be a wide range of acceptable wardrobes to wear to your interview, but avoid making assumptions. Unless you know someone who has specific information about the expected dress code, or you have completed extensive research on the company’s hiring processes, it is always better to dress up then to dress down.

Your interview is the time to show potential employers what kind of employee you would be. You want to look your best and your most professional.

3) Being Too Bashful 

An interview can be nerve wracking. It can be even worse if you aren’t exactly outgoing or comfortable bragging about yourself. Still, this is your time to shine and portray your best you. Don’t be afraid to do a little boasting to highlight your best attributes.

coaching blurbsIf the thought of meeting your interviewer and discussing your skills makes you want to vomit, consider working with an interview coach or role play the interview with a friend or family member. Practice your body language, tone of voice, and what you would want to say. You will feel more prepared and confident, and, more importantly, you will come across as more qualified.

4) Negativity

Team collaboration is a huge part of today’s job market, and your negative attitude will show that you are not ready to be a team player. Even if you are unhappy with the way things played out at your prior job, or you felt like your boss was evil, your interview is not the time to air your grievances. You will end up painting yourself in a negative light as someone who is going to be hard to deal with or someone who will cause problems with management. Even if you feel you were treated unfairly at your previous job, take the high road and avoid trash talking anyone.

5) Not Taking the Interview Seriously

Are you so sure that you have the job that you treat the interview as just a formality? Be careful! There are no guarantees until you have an offer letter in hand. Job competition is fierce. Your causal behavior could give off the appearance that you will not take the job seriously and make you look unprepared and unqualified. Always show up to an interview ready to show off the best version of you.

6) Not Asking Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions, especially as a means to open up a dialog about the job. You can show what you know about the job and the operations of the company by asking specific questions. For example, you might ask how a job function that you have performed elsewhere would be done in this job.

Furthermore, ask for clarification when you do not understand an interview question or task. A little bit of clarification will keep you from bumbling on like an idiot completely in the wrong direction. Your interviewer will appreciate that you took the time to try to understand and answer their questions correctly.

7) Lying

Don’t lie at your interview. Just don’t. Experienced interviewers will know enough to see through your fib, and they will be fact checking. It’s ok to play up your qualities, just keep it in the realm of truth. Anything more will jeopardize your credibility and quickly disqualify you.

8) Complaining

Maybe you really hated something about your last job. Your interview appointment was too early. The application was too long.

Complaining in an interview just demonstrates that you are not ready to handle the responsibilities of the job.

You may be asked what was the worst part of your old job, but do your best to keep it positive. Consider the positive-negative-positive sandwich approach if you have something bad to say: start with a positive, share your negative gracefully, and end with a positive.

9) Being Late

There is no excuse for being late to a job interview, at least in the eyes of your interviewer. If you are late and still lucky enough to be allowed an interview, it is likely your interviewer has already written that you are unreliable in his or her notes. You will have a tough time convincing them otherwise.

Know the driving directions, commute time, and traffic well in advance of your interview. Remember to include the time it will take to check in and get to your interviewing location from your car. Plan to be at there and ready to go about fifteen minutes early. If you arrive earlier, you can stay in your car and study your interview notes, just do not be late!

10) Not Doing Your Homework

A sure way to appear unqualified is to show up to your interview with no knowledge or understanding of what the job is or what the company does. It is easy to avoid this blunder with a little preparation. Study the job description. You will be able to speak more intelligently and with more authority. Learn about the company and its products or services, and test them out if you can. Most companies have a website that will tell you about the history of the company, its mission statement, and even recent press releases. Even if none of this comes up in your interview, you will be in a better position to answer questions in line with your interviewer’s expectations.

Before you follow  these tips you will have to land an interview, so get started by finding the perfect listing here.

Avoid These 10 Job Interview Mistakes That Make You Seem Unqualified by
Authored by: Cameron Griffin