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5 Interview Mistakes Most Eager Young Employees Make (And How You Can Be Different)
My recent article on mentorship drummed up a lot of enthusiasm, and rightfully so. I often find that young professionals are extremely ambitious and ready to find their "perfect" fit early in their career. As a result, I’m creating a two part series on the art of getting hired, and once hired, how to prove you’re promotion ready. Let's start with how to navigate the hiring process.
Let’s be honest, the recruiting and interview process has changed drastically in the last 10 years. For starters,
As a hiring manager, I’ve identified 5 common mistakes that entry-level employees often make when interviewing for a job. Address these pitfalls and you may just have a greater chance of landing your first job.
1. They feel uncomfortable
Seriously, feeling like you are worth every penny of the job you’re interviewing for is as vital to the skill set you can leverage to get the job done. I see too many people sit down with their interviewer and immediately start fidgeting simply because their clothes don’t fit right. This is a distraction to the interviewer and takes away from what you’re trying to convey in your answers.
Buy a suit that fits well and brings out your confidence. For instance, if you don’t like wearing skirts, then don’t buy a skirt suit; go with a pantsuit instead. If heels make you stumble and cringe in pain, stick to flats. And yes, guys, this is relevant to you too. Don't wear something that doesn’t fit your style. If you like wearing skinny jeans than you probably need to purchase a fitted suit, because the front pleats in the pants of your father’s decade are not going to feel natural to you.
2. They know nothing about the job
It’s a little like
Once you do your research, figure out how you can discuss your tangible achievements and relate them to the job responsibilities. And don’t forget prior experience; those years as a waiter or waitress may actually hold
Additionally, craft your professional elevator speech and use it. This is a one or two sentence pitch on who you are professionally. Use your LinkedIn summary statement as a guide. Are you a marketing wizard that loves to engage in social media with potential clients? Or, a number-
3. They are not thinking "inside the box"
Ok, that sounds weird, but it’s a real differentiator. You have already done your due diligence of the company, position, and even the person you who is conducting the interview most likely, now you may be able to gain further into that person's world. If you’re taken into your interviewer’s office, you’re immediately at an advantage; you are in their personal space! Inside the interviewer's office you can gain insights into their personal lives as well as their professional, this can help great great dialogue during an interview.
Scan the room and take in little cues about their personal or professional interests and hobbies, and figure out which can help you pick up some brownie points during the conversation. For example: where did they graduate? Do they have a family photos? Is that a photo of their award winning pot-bellied pig? Seriously, you can find out clues about their personality by simply looking around their office. But don’t make it awkward… make sure that the name on the door is in fact the person who is interviewing you. If the clues in the room don’t belong to the interviewer it could lead to some interesting conversations - don’t ask me how I know. Yikes!
4. They get tricked
The goal of every interview is to show why you’re the best person for the job. If the interviewer gets off track and pulls the conversation too far into personal territory, it’s your job to put it back on course. If they start thinking too far "inside the box," pull them back into the interview.
If the interviewer keeps talking personal -- meaning he or she references things that have nothing to do with the professional setting -- it may be an interviewer’s tactic to see if you can control the conversation. Politely find a way to say how lovely the conversation is, but you would like to know more about the position and that you look forward to sharing why you’re the right candidate for the job.
Many of the E.Y.E.’s I’ve interviewed are eager and excited to get going in their career, but unfortunately, many come unprepared and if side barred don't get to the "Why" they are key to the position. The ones that do make a lasting impression by putting in the extra effort to know every last detail of the job position, company and hiring manager. Not to mention, they make sure that they relate prior experiences to the current opening.
5. They’re too brief
Usually brevity is a good thing, but in interview situations, you need to sound educated, which requires more than one sentence answers.
Study up on how your prior experience correlates with the given responsibilities of the job and
I leave you with one final question to ponder:
What impression will you leave behind? Share your thoughts, ideas, tips on landing that first career step with me @katharinemobley.
Katharine Mobley is a data geek, social media addict, and marketing executive. With over 17 years experience in her field, she has witnessed drastic changes in marketing and advertising specifically with the evolution of the #CMO and the role of social media. She is an Executive Council Member of the Ellevate Network.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Chief Marketing Officer
First Advantage Corporation
I am a closet data geek and a social media addict, who some call a marketing maven. With over 17 years’ experience in my field, I have witnessed drastic changes in marketing and advertising specifically with the evolution of the CMO and the role of social media.
From my early beginnings at with Dodge Automotive at BBDO to launching the 20/20 Vision