Five Interview Mistakes That Are Costing You The Job

The only thing standing between you and your dream job is the interview. Are you scared of interviews? Here are the five biggest mistakes you can make in a job interview – and how to avoid them. 

Being Too Vague or Cliche is one of the biggest interview mistakes.

It’s vital to avoid buzzwords like “I’m a natural leader” or “I’m a team player” without any context. Employers will disregard your cliche statements. It’s essential to back up your claims with evidence using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method.

Situation: First, you describe the story, scenario, or context. Then, tell the time and place.

“I was working at a pizza shop during a football game.” 

Task: Second, you detail your specific responsibilities to accomplish the goal.

“I was the only staff member making pizzas for the restaurant. We had ten orders.” 

Action: Third, you explain step-by-step how you completed the goal. 

“I put the ingredients together. Then, I placed each pizza in the oven for 10 minutes.”

Result: Finally, you quantify or qualify the outcome(s).  

“I made six pizzas in an hour. So I was able to get all the pizzas out within two hours.” 

Applicants waiting for a job interview
Job Interview on Deposit Photos.

Badmouthing Past Employers

Previously, you could have worked for a toxic or unprofessional organization, boss, co-worker, or team. An interviewer doesn’t want to hear negativity or gossip about a previous employer. In their eyes, the interviewer might view that you were the problem instead or that you will badmouth them in the future. So remember to always keep it positive and classy with your answers. 

Not Sending a Thank You Note After Any Type of Interview

To increase your chances of getting the job, follow up every interview with a specialized thank you note describing how your skills, personality, and experience match the employer. If there are multiple interviews, the first thank you note should focus on what specific skills make you qualified for the job. The second interview thank you note should focus on your added value to the company (what accomplishments make you stand out from your peer interviewees?). Finally, the third thank you note should focus on how you fit in with the company culture, people, mission, and values.  Here is an introductory generic thank-you note to get started:

Subject line: Thank you for the interview.

Dear Joe, 

Thank you so much for meeting with me today to discuss the [JOB] position. I enjoyed our conversation and learning more about the role and the company. 

I would be an ideal candidate for [ORGANIZATION] and want to reiterate my interest in this position. I could be a great asset to the team. 

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks again, and have a great day! 



Interview 1366x768
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Not Being Prepared For the Specific Interview

In preparation, review the job description, its responsibilities, and the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. Next, look at the company’s social media and press releases to know issues relevant to the company. Finally, consider your career achievements and brainstorm examples to ace the interview.

Not Asking The Right Questions 

At the end of the interview, the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” 

It’s essential to come prepared with the right questions. So here are some insightful questions to ask: 

  • What is one of the most challenging aspects of this role?
  • What new skills will I develop in this role?
  • Are there new projects or initiatives that I will be involved with in this role?
  • What are the expectations for this role during the first 30, 60, and 90 days?
  • What is the working culture like? 
  • Who will I work with the most? Who will I be reporting to?
  • What are the next steps in the process?

With these five tips, you are more likely to make your following interview a success. Good luck!

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