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The biggest interview mistakes

The biggest interview mistakes

You need to avoid the fundamental mistakes that most interviewees make. Here are a few of them:

Answering questions with opinion instead of evidence.
For instance, ‘I believe it is important to be motivated and hard working…’ Potential employers want to know what you did, not what you think about it.

Answering questions with more facts than evidence.
For instance, ‘I worked at Taylor & Co from 2006 to 2011 as Senior Admin Manager where I took care of the running of the department. Then I moved to….’ Your employers want to know how you did things, not just what you did. These sorts of details will make you seem much more like a real person and not a walking resume/ CV!

Answering questions using jargon or inaccessible language.
For instance, ‘I was responsible for implementing the CP64 system and rolling out the inter-departmental policy for safety under framework 4.7’ Even if you are applying for a move within your existing organisation, your interviewers may not be familiar with what your department does day to day.

Answering questions with forecasts, not evidence.
For instance ‘what I would plan to do is…’ Future employers using this type of interview want to know what you have done, not what you might do.

Not answering the question you have been asked.
Politicians are quite good at doing this! But in a job interview it can be very irritating. Listen carefully to what is being asked and match your answer to it. Don’t just explain the example you wanted to cover, but has little bearing on what they want to hear.

Using flimsy examples.
Just because you did something that matches the topic of the question doesn’t necessarily make it good enough evidence of your capabilities! You need to be able to draw on very good quality examples that will really do yourself justice.

Being shy or self-effacing.
There is no room for this in an interview however uncomfortable you feel. No-one else is going to come in there and cheer-lead for you so you need to get over yourself. Get some practice at singing your own praises, in a clearly backed-up and evidence based way of course!

Unfortunately there are many more key mistakes which interviewees make. Most people don’t understand the role EVIDENCE plays in presenting a cast iron interview. Of those who do understand that they need to focus on their evidence, even fewer know how to actually present the correct evidence in the correct way.

Article written by: Hannah Vallance

Hannah Vallance is a Chartered Occupational and HPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist, she has over ten years experience of designing assessment solutions.

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