Introduction The interview is as much a test of patience, tact. street smartness and presence of mind, as much as it is about the test of functional knowledge and application. Sven costly mistakes to be avoided in an interview, particularly when the candidate has less than five years of experience and is aspiring to go ahead in life are a) Never boast about your achievements b) Never criticize any former employer c) Never distract the interviewers d) Never talk about sensitive matters e) Never beat about the bush f) Never appear desperate and g) Never attempt to snub the interviewers.
Never boast about your achievements This happened in the case of an IIM product a decade ago. He already had an ICWA qualification before entering into the IIM. His record of three years work experience in the Mutual Fund was impressive.
However, five minutes into the interview, the candidate said "Sirs, I would like to know whether you would consider me for a Senior Manager position. I already have such offers from two institutions abroad".
The interviewers did not like the candidate's interview. They simply said "Mr. Raghu, thanks for your interest in our organization. We do not have any position that will match your career aspirations at the moment. In a couple of years, the mutual fund industry was going through the worst of times and Mr. Raghu regretted his over-ambitious attitude on that day. That particular Mutual Fund somehow weathered all the storm and the big boss who was present in the interview went on to become a famous fund manager.
This is exactly what can happen if you start boasting about your achievements. Never under-estimate the guys interviewing you. They are on the opposite side of the table only because they have also done their hard work and have reached their present positions.
Never criticize any former employer In these days of the most advanced information technology available, it becomes all the more easy for any prospective employer to check your previous record in each of your previous experiences. If you attempt to cover up your weaknesses by criticizing your previous employers, the interviewers will see through your game. You should never ever speak anything bad or incorrect about your previous employers.
Never distract the interviewers There are many candidates who try to distract the interviewers by diverting the question asked. This is a very dangerous technique. The interviewers will quickly see through your game and the interview may as well come to an abrupt end. You may not even be allowed to face the full interview.
The interviewers will also be able to understand that you do not have such a great record and that you are deliberately trying to side-track vital questions about the quality of your experience. Hence, never make this mistake of distracting the interviewers in an interview. Remember, irrespective of the level you are attempting to reach in this very competitive world, the skill-sets and the very nature of work are undergoing massive transformations. Unless you prove that you possess these changing skill-sets you are not going to succeed. You might have different sets of experiences in your previous jobs. However, you have to move on.
Never talk about sensitive matters These are days when some interviews are arranged to deliberately get sensitive information about competitors. In any interview, if you are asked about the details of any sensitive data concerning the nature of your present experience, please do be very careful. This is not advisable at all. Never speak about such sensitive issues. You have every right to either say that you do not know much or totally skip answers. In fact, you can be assertive in this regard.
In one case, a middle-level HR executive was asked about some sensitive data regarding the nature of the strike in his plant. The interviewers had prior information that the candidate had full knowledge about what happened. He even knew the background and the genesis of one issue that was even discussed and agreed upon in the settlement. However, the candidate saw through the game. He quickly said that while he was ready to give some information, he will not part with the minute details. The CEO of the organization just then trooped in. He closed the interview, saying "You are selected. Let us discuss all other terms and conditions". A few hints were dropped about the nature of the work. The CEO interviewed the person in private in his chamber and offered him the appointment letter. Along with the appointment letter, he also got an appointment advice giving perfect details of the nature of his responsibilities, what would be the new expectations and so on. The very same evening the CEO called the entire interview panel and explained that such a candidate with a high level of integrity is needed in their organization.
The candidate was designated as Senior Manager (Human Capital Development). He was also asked to immediately enrol in an Executive MBA with a leading B-school, where he would spend some time in a year. The entire cost was borne by the employer. This candidate went on to do wonders in what is now called Competency Based Management. It also helped that the CEO had attended an Advanced Management Course at Harvard Business School, some eighteen months ago. In that course, he had come across a case study where the skill-sets of the person being interviewed matched the profile he was looking for. His integrity was exactly the CEO liked in him. His judgement was also correct.
Never beat about the bush Every minute of the interviewers time is as precious as yours. You cannot be just beating about the bush. Your answers should be very accurate. It is fine to say that you do not know any answer. The interviewers may not mind it. However, if you try to beat about the bush, they will immediately see through the game and you will as well lose the vital chance of being selected.
Never appear desperate The world will not come to a stop if you are not selected for the job. There are other chances of your getting other jobs. All that you need to keep doing is to update your skill-sets very quickly. Once you do this, you have every chance of being selected for better roles and jobs in bigger organizations. The bigger the brand name of the organization, the better. However, in the first five years of your career, never ever attend any interview where you are sure of being asked to do the same thing again and again. Such experiences are bound to land you in dead-end jobs. There will a regular job in such cases. There will be no career at all. This is all the more reason why you should never appear desperate.
Never attempt to snub the interviewers If you think you are too smart and can snub the interviewers, you are doing the worst mistake. Remember, they get to meet their peers in various conferences. They might as well share some vital information about you and your attitude. These are days when information about candidates gets shared across geographical boundaries. Never ever snub or attempt to snub your interviewers.
Conclusion Interviews, in general, have many variable and subtle details that one should take note of. The aforesaid discussion has enough material to warn prospective candidates on common mistakes that they often do in interviews.
Please do avoid each of the above mistakes. All the very best.
It is easy to crack written exams but interviews are very different from them and thus most of the candidates do not fare well. Even those candidates who come out with flying colors fall short in interviews. Job interviews need to be attended with confidence. They are the chance when a candidate should put his best foot forward.
Author has mentioned seven mistakes that should never be committed in an interview. I would like to add a few more.
Dressing inappropriately is a common mistake that candidates commit. Go for a professional look. Try to look as polished as possible. Irrespective of the company and job position you are applying, the rule is to go well-dressed. Never arrive late for interviews. Good first impressions play a major role to seek a job. Do remember that not arriving on time suggest that you are bad at time management. Now, who wants to hire an employee who doesn't have good time management skills and disrespects the interviewers and company?
Not knowing about the company or the job position that you are applying for is another mistake which candidates often commit in their interviews. Do some research about the company before the interview as it is the most common question asked? Candidates should be familiar with the history, mission, and locations of the company.
Another one mistake to be avoided by the candidate, in addition to the list of mistakes narrated in the article is -never enter into an argument with the interviewers. Even if you are sure that they are wrong, the candidate should politely point it out by using phrases like 'I beg your pardon, but the..is ." etc. Not to drop names. There should not be even a veiled suggestion that you have someone who can be of some influence for the job. Last but not least, never show anybody language that may show your anger or desperation, even if they hint a negative result.
Exactly Sir. This is also a very important point. If the interviewer thinks that the guy appearing for an interview literally wants to take him for a ride or even appears a bit hostile, he or she will never be selected. This is extremely important.