Interview Mistakes You Might Not Realise You’re Making

By Joleen Little BVSc MRCVS

Interview Mistakes You Might Not Realise You’re Making

The interview stage of the hiring process can be tricky, to say the least. You’re trying to make a good impression and highlight yourself in the best way possible, but things don’t always go as you’ve planned them. Slip ups can happen. A lot of the time, you’re not even aware that those things are happening. 

Eliminate interview mistakes before the interview starts

Even if the employer decides to not make an offer of employment to you and even if you decide that the job is not the right position for you, it’s still important to brand yourself the right way. You never know what the future holds, and your performance during the interview could be the key to discovering a great new opportunity down the road. So, it’s critical to be aware of interview mistakes you could make and eliminate them before the interview begins.

Below are five costly interview mistakes you might not realise you’re making:

1—Talking too much

Yes, you are nervous, and you might be one of those people who talk too much when they’re nervous. When you do that, though, you run the risk of rambling, which is not a good look for a job interview. You might also “talk over” someone or interrupt them in your eagerness to share a thought or a past experience.

Instead, practice answering common interview questions beforehand and work to stay laser-focused during the interview. Remember, a successful interview is not about quantity, as in how many words you speak. It’s about the quality of those words and the impact that they have. Never interrupt the employer. Be prepared. (see below)

2—Saying “always” and “never”

These are examples of absolutes, which are indicative of an “all or nothing” pattern of thinking. It is not a good look. Employers want to hire people who don’t give into the temptation to blindly categorise people and situations because it’s easier or in an attempt to portray themselves in a more positive light.

So instead, you should try to explain how a difficult situation you faced was overcome. Explain how you found yourself in this unusual situation and how you best managed to solve the problem in a positive light. Showing how prepared you are to problem solve, acknowledge your weakness and how you chose to learn from it in the future would be a great impression to make. 

3—“Over selling” yourself

You know that you have to “sell” yourself during the interview. That’s basically what an interview is all about. But can you go too far? Yes, you can, and when you do, the people interviewing you are going to notice. The focus of the interview is the problem the employer has, and they are attempting to solve that through hiring a Vet or Vet Nurse.

So, what you’re really “selling” is how you are going to solve the employer’s problem if they were to employ you. Chat about your own success but balance that with those you achieved with the support of a team. Switch your language to focus on “we” versus “I” or “me” Be honest about your areas of growth and explain how you are actively taking steps to improve that.

4—Getting too personal

You might have heard before that it’s a good idea to try to make a personal connection with the person or people who are interviewing you. It can help to “break the ice” and lead to a more relaxed and more effective interview. Talking about a shared interest or current events in the world is a way in which to do this. (But keep politics out of it!)

Avoid mentioning that you were checking the person out on social media or saying that you love their watch! Making a personal connection is good but doing so while keeping proper boundaries is even better. Be polite and respectful. Conduct yourself professionally. Be aware of what your body language is saying. SMILE, make eye contact. 

5—Feeling too relaxed

It’s crucial to finish strong during your interview. Unfortunately, some people tend to relax toward the end of their interview, especially if they believe it has gone well and that they’ve made the proper personal connection with the other people involved. This is when things can go wrong. Specifically, you might say the wrong thing at the wrong time, making an inappropriate remark that can mar an otherwise solid interview. 

Remember that the only time that you can truly relax is when the interview is completely over. (And if you’re participating in a virtual interview, it’s only completely over when you know for sure that you’ve closed out of the software and no one can see and/or hear you anymore.) Don’t slouch. Maintain composure. End the interview on a positive note and give the interviewer something to remember you by.

And finally…Have at least two questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.

“What would you like a successful candidate to bring to the role?”

“What do you think makes you stand out as an employer and why do you think this is a great place to work?’

Helpful Interview Tips 

Before you walk into any interview, you should know as much as possible about the company and the position. Do your research. In today’s world of mass communication, there is no excuse for lack of preparation.

Think about how you would answer the following questions

  • Tell me about yourself. Keep your answer to the professional realm only. Review your past positions, education and other strengths.

  • What do you know about our organisation? If you’ve done your research, you should have no problem with this one. Be positive.

  • Why are you interested in this position? Relate how you feel your qualifications match the job requirements and express your desire to work for the company.

  • What are the most significant accomplishments in your career thus far? Pick recent accomplishments that relate to this position and its requirements.

  • Describe a situation in which your work was criticised. Focus on how you solved the situation and how you became a better person because of it.

Some other questions that may come up.

  • How would you describe your personality?

  • How do you perform under pressure?

  • What have you done to improve yourself over the past year?

  • Why are you considering leaving your current position?

  • What is your ideal working environment?

  • How would your co-workers describe you?

  • What are your career goals?

  • Where do you see yourself in two years?

  • Why should we hire you?

Practice the answers to these questions and think about how you can keep a positive attitude in your answers.

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