May 22, 2012
Job interview weaknesses can be the difference between getting a great job and losing out to another candidate. How many times have you applied for a job you knew you were perfect for, gotten called in for an interview, and then received a blow off letter a week later? Chances are, you need to work on your interview skills.
Many people feel nervous going into a job interview, especially if they haven’t performed well in the past or have not been to a formal interview for many years. Performance anxiety is totally normal, but you don’t have to let it ruin your chances. The best way to overcome your nervousness is by being extremely well prepared so you can walk into that interview with absolute confidence.
Interviewing for a new job is a skill, and like many skills it can be improved with practice. But how do you get experience interviewing without wasting a lot of job opportunities? Here’s a trick: There are probably hundreds of professional recruiters within 20 miles of your home. They get paid to find great employees for their clients, and most of them will want to meet you face to face first.
Meeting with multiple recruiters can be a great low-stress way to get used to talking about your skills and experience. They will also have good tips for improving your resume and give you candid feedback about your performance and how you can refuse. It’s like having 100 free career coaches who are all trying to find you that next great job!
3: Failing to Sell Yourself
Many people are raised to be modest and not toot their own horn. A job interview is not the place to downplay your value! Don’t be arrogant or cocky, but it’s very important to project a sense of self confidence and make sure you let the interviewer know that you are interested in the job, and extremely qualified to handle it. Don’t be afraid to cite multiple examples of your past achievements and show the hiring manager how you will bring the same value to his department.
4: Not Asking Enough Questions
When I was a professional recruiter I conducted over 300 interviews in my career. Let me tell you, meeting 10 people in a single day and having to direct the conversation the whole time is exhausting. Your future employer will notice if you make the interview more of a dialogue or give and take. Use this opportunity to probe deeper into areas of the job you don’t fully understand, and also to gently guide the conversation toward the unique skills and experience you offer.
5: Being Too Formal or Not Formal Enough
One important skill that comes with good preparation and experience is in matching your style to the interviewer. (In sales this is known as “mirroring” the client.) Pay close attention to the hiring manager’s pace and style of speech, posture, and other clues to his personality such as decorations in the office.
Some managers want the interview to be an extremely formal and polite meeting, focused strictly on the business at hand. Others will want to see you open up and show your personality. Follow his lead and make sure you give him what he expects.
By Robert Shaft