Friday, 2 May 2008

Top 10 Interview Mistakes

Turning up late or insulting your prospective boss are two obvious no-nos that you should avoid when going for a job interview. But hiring managers told CareerBuilder.co.uk what the biggest interview howlers they've seen job applicants make. From the applicant who burst into a rendition of a James Brown classic, to the candidate who thought that the Hulk Hogan approach was the best way to tackle an awkward customer, this year's list is a guide to the things you really should avoid saying at your interview.

Here are this year's top 10 interview faux pas.

1. When honesty is not the best policy
When the interviewer asked why he wanted to work for the company, the candidate replied: "Because I fancy the girl who works in reception."

2. Retain professionalism at all times
Determined to stand out from their competition, one candidate turned on a CD player to play to James Brown's I Feel Good.

3. Demonstrate the right skills appropriate for the job
One candidate took the question "Can you demonstrate your skills?" too literally, and proceeded to perform magic tricks for the interviewer.

4. Know the job
The phrase "in the wrong place at the wrong time" took on a whole new meaning when one candidate not only showed up to the wrong interview, he also went to the wrong company.

5. Suppress your homicidal tendencies
Unnervingly, one job applicant gave her interviewer the impression that she had murdered her husband.

6. Avoid distraction
There are simply no excuses for having your mobile phone switched on during an interview. But that didn't stop one job applicant who couldn't resist checking his phone at every given opportunity.

7. Show enthusiasm
Wanting to gauge the applicant's career ambitions, the interviewer asked the candidate where he saw himself in the next five years. The candidate replied: "I don't have any particular ambitions for advancement, as long as I am paid a lot more."

8. Misplaced loyalty
When applying for a weekend job, one candidate informed their prospective new employer that he would not be able to come to work when his football team was playing at home.

9. Wanna get physical?
When the interviewer asked how the candidate would handle a disgruntled customer, the candidate replied that he would wrestle the client to the ground rather than attempt to diffuse the situation in a diplomatic way.

10. Looking for love
One candidate decided to take matters further, however, and asked their interviewer out on a date.

Aside from the verbal blunders that candidates made, the survey's respondents also commented on the most common mistakes that applicants made during their interviews.

Accordingly, 62 per cent of recruiters cited appearing disinterested as the biggest faux pas, followed by arrogance (49 per cent), bad-mouthing their current or previous employer (44 per cent) and failure to answer questions effectively (25 per cent).
So, if you want to know how to win at your next interview, follow these tips.

Do your homework.
An interview is effectively your sales pitch to convince a potential buyer (employer) that what you have to offer will be a worthwhile investment. Research the company to which you are applying, think of some potential issues that it faces and offer a potential solution.

Don't get too personal.
Avoid divulging too much information about your personal life. Much like the "hobbies and interests" section on your CV, only share information that is deemed relevant to the job in hand. For instance, if you are applying for a management position, the fact that you were captain of your rugby team demonstrates your leadership and organisational skills. Always keep the interview professional.

Be honest.
Don't pretend to know the answer to a question when you really don't, you aren't expected to know all the answers. Interviewers are not trying to catch you out -- they simply need to determine if you can solve problems. If they ask a question that you do not know the answer to, explain the steps you would take to find out.

Prepare your answers.
Eighty per cent of interview questions can be broken down into three categories: general, competency- and scenario-based. It is likely you will be asked questions such as, "Tell me about yourself", or "What motivates you?" or "Tell me about a time when you worked effectively as part of a team" and "In retrospect how would you have done things differently?" Practice answers to potential questions.

Be positive.
Talking about your previous employer in derogatory terms is never advisable, even if you had the boss from hell. Not only does this make you look unprofessional, the interviewer will also assume that you will say the same things about them in the future.

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