The 3 biggest mistakes at job interviews

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Ever wonder why you never got called back for a second interview despite the fact you felt in your heart of hearts that the interview went well?

While every interview scenario is difficult to summarize, there is a chance you may have made one or more of the three biggest mistakes job seekers make in an interview. These no-no’s may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often job seekers fail in these areas.

1. Failing to exude a positive body language

More than your words and your tone of voice, your body language is the No. 1 aspect you are being judged on, not just in the interview, but the moment you enter the company’s headquarters.

Your great resume and/or a referral has likely gotten you the interview. Now, your potential fellow coworkers are sizing you up from head to toe to see if you’d be a good “fit” for their team.

  • Are you slouched in your chair, dressed appropriately and polite or speaking on your cell phone?
  • Are you leaning forward, engaged in the conversation, or are you leaning back or have a rigid posture?
  • Are you looking the interviewer directly in the eye?

The interviewer has to envision you being successful at his company and making him or her look good. If you don’t seem engaged, you may have lost them and not even know it.

2. Failing to ask the right questions

The interviewer and the company you are interviewing with don’t really care anything about you unless they know for certain you can help them. To that end, it puts the company at ease knowing you have learned as much about there organization as possible, particularly in your areas of expertise.

When a job seeker brings and asks at least three questions related to helping the company improve its standing, now you have crossed into engagement territory.

The interviewer has a new respect for you versus other candidates who, when asked if they had any questions replied, “No” or worse, “what’s the salary for this position?”

The worst thing you can do in an initial interview is focus on “you” unless prompted by the interviewer. That means avoid asking questions such as salary, health benefits and vacation time and other “me” questions.

Save those for a later interview, unless prompted to answer. Instead, tailor your questions around where the company is looking to improve and how you can fulfill those goals.

3. Failing to ask for the job

You assume – as the job seeker – that since I showed up for the interview there must be an assumption I want the job. Not true.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer closes by saying something like, “well, we’re still interviewing candidates this week so we’ll let you know.” And your response is a simple, “ok, great.” Actually, not great, because you just cost yourself a second interview.

Assume the interviewer has been judging your body language during the interview and isn’t certain you genuinely want the job. The interviewer feels the responsibilities laid out may not be your cup of tea even though your responses were, “no problem” or “that sounds fine.”

So how do you eliminate any doubt? You ask for the job.

Here’s how your response should be:“Thanks again for taking the time to meet with me and for going over the details of the position. I know this position carries a lot of responsibility and I just want to let you know I would really welcome the opportunity to work with you and your team. I’m ready to make an immediate impact. When do you anticipate making a decision on the next step?”

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By informing the interviewer that you want the job you’ve eliminated any doubt in their mind. Think about it: would YOU hire a person you weren’t sure wanted the job or someone who was passionate and said point blank they wanted to work for you?

Avoid these three biggest interview gaffes and you’ll get more calls for second interviews – and even a job offer.

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