Monday, March 16, 2009
TOP 10 INTERVIEW MISTAKES EXEMPLIFIED
I have failed many, many interviews in my lifetime. I literally cannot count the interviews I have botched, mostly because I'm not good at math. (See also: the math quiz for Morgan Stanley that I abandoned after the third question.) I suspect that my behavior has been so jaw-droppingly, head-slappingly embarrassing that I have become an anecdote at recruiter seminars.
As such, when I came across this article about interview mistakes, I took note. Perhaps I could learn something.
Upon reading them, I realized I've made every single mistake on the list. As a Peon Confidential community service in this brutal economic climate, I'm sharing those mistakes with you:
1. Not knowing your aim.
The best example of this would be when I interviewed for a position in Feeds at CNN, a position which consisted of pushing play and record in a dark crevice of the newsroom, and I told them I was suited for this because I spoke French.
2. Being too needy.
Once during an interview, there was a tray of cookies and muffins on the conference table for an upcoming meeting that was scheduled to take place later in the day. I kept glancing at this delicious tray of baked goods with such longing that I practically drooled on myself. My distraction was so great that the interviewer finally snapped, "Those are for managers only."
3. Lousy nonverbal communication.
A prime example: The time the interviewer left the room and returned (she was so quiet--must have been wearing those Easy Spirit pumps) to find me picking my nose. She actually asked, "Are you finished?"
4. Compromising your position.
5. Falling into the answers-only rut.
I had no idea you were supposed to ask questions. I guess this is why interviewers look at me funny when they finally ask if I have any questions, and I reply, "Nope. Wow! You sure have been thorough. Thanks!"
Talking about the Clermont Lounge strip club in Atlanta (including Blondie's patented tit punch maneuver) was in hindsight, not such a great idea.
7. Being overly familiar.
The time I told the interviewer that I had horrible breath and needed a mint was perhaps a tad familiar.
8. Making incorrect assumptions.
Thinking the interviewer would offer me a mint. She did not.
9. Getting emotional.
Perhaps during those failed interviews in which I have both rambled
and became overly familiar in a foreign accent put me over the edge into emotional territory. Especially when I was applying to The State Department for a job as a foreign officer.
10. Not asking specific questions.
Now, here's where I differ. I ask specific questions, just not about the job. I'll ask about the charming photo on the interviewer's desk of his family on a Mexican cruise. I'll ask if they enjoyed Mexico. I'll ask what they ate. I'll ask if they tipped the Mariachi band. But I won't ask about company objectives.