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What are some pitfalls or things that I should be aware of/avoid during an interview session?

I am a fresh graduate and I don't have much interview experiences.
I would like to know what are something that I should avoid saying/focused on, as well as what are some common pitfalls that I should be aware of in an interviews.
Thanks! #interviews #interviewing-skills #interview-preparation

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Carole’s Answer

Pitfalls to avoid in an interview:
1. Not knowing anything about the company that you are interviewing with. You could be asked "Why did you apply for this position"? You have to know if your skills and education fit into what they are looking for or and be able to explain why you choose this job and how you can be a benefit to the company. By impressing the interviewer with your knowledge you will have a great advantage over others. you can locate information from recent articles about this company, annual reports, back issues of the industry's trade magazines and ask for a recruitment package from Human Resources.
2. Don't go on an interview without your letters of recommendations and list of references from teachers, past employers, any other individual who know your work habits and can speak highly of you. On the reference page have phone #'s and addresses of the people that will give you good references. Also make sure you ask these people if it is ok to put their name down.
3. Many times on first time interviews candidates are eliminated just for wearing the wrong or inappropriate clothing. Just be sure that you can put together an appropriate outfit; no jeans,(unless otherwise stated), no flip flop shoes, make sure your clothing is clean and shoes are not full of dirt. For women watch the amount of make-up, jewelry, and perfume. All of these items can detract from your image as a professional. Neat and clean is usually my motto!
4. Don't be late: Use some extra time to prepare for you drive and don't underestimate how long it will take.30 minutes to spare is always good. Better to be a little early than late.
5. Preparation for questions is very important. By developing solid answers to questions that are likely to be asked, you will probably be in a better position to answer questions that you hadn't anticipated. After taking a look at your resume and ask yourself "What question would you ask"?. Be able to expound on your job skills, and have the ability to answer question about your work history, education, academic achievements and some times personal interests. Expound on your thoughts about how your skill and education would work well in this job. Use job interviewing books to help you with the questions that interviewer might ask. The more you are prepared the better your answer will be. Also be prepared to ask maybe 2-3 questions when they ask you if you have any questions, such as: What is the next position that this job typically leads to? If you read any of the articles about this company this is the time to ask a question. If they offer you the position it is reasonable to ask for 24 to 48 hours to digest all the detail. Save questions about salary and benefits for later after you have received the offer. Also, displaying nervousness, or shyness or shaking you foot, or any other nervous tic or displays can cause you the job. Just listen for the first few minutes of the interview and try to relax while they are talking to you. If you have practiced your responses you should be more comfortable.
6. Some questions can be extremely unfair to ask, and the appropriate answer would be "I need to think about it." or some other question you can answer That's certainly a possibility."
7. Illegal question probe into your private lie or personal background. Discriminating questions are forbidden by Federal law such as: sex, age, race, national origin, or religion. to get around this question you can always say "I'm not quite sure I understand what you're getting at. Would you please explain to me how this issue is relevant to the position?" "I am very interested in developing my Career. "Travel is not a problem to me." Avoid reacting in a hostile way, remember you can always decide later to decline the job offer. this is an excellent way to end the conversation : "I make it a point not to mix my personal beliefs with my work, if that's what you mean. I assure you that I value my career too much for that.

I know you will do very well in the interview if you follow the points that I suggested. You will definitely show more confidence if you research and practice some of the questions listed for interviewing. Have someone you trust listen to you answering the questions. Good luck on you job hunt!!

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Gary’s Answer

That is a good and big question, I would start reading whatever you can about interviewing to learn more about it and possible pitfalls and things to know when interviewing...when I was honorably discharged from the US Army back in 1991 I did not know anything about interviewing for a civilian job...I read everything I could about it (monster dot com is a very good resource). Martin Yates is also a good resource for job search books.
The below is pasted in from monster dot com / career-advice:
Here are ways you can improve your chances at the interview:
Be concise
Provide examples
Be honest
Keep your guard up
Ask great questions

There are also some great youtube videos that can help you learn interviewing skills...good luck!

Thanks Gary! It's always been hard for me to be concise either in talking or writing, though I've tried very hard at improving that. Especially when I'm talking under pressure like interview setting. Thanks very much for your comment!:) Hollie C.

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Drew’s Answer

The key thing that I wish I knew about interviews when I was joining the job world is the importance of researching the company where you are interviewing. Knowing about the company's values, mission statement, and products/services could be the difference in whether or not you get a job. Most of this should be available on a company's website so make sure you are familiar with it. If you are worried or nervous about forgetting something, take notes in a notebook and bring that notebook with you. Employers won't mind if you have to check something you wrote down because that shows that you prepared ahead of time. (just don't look at your notebook for each question.)

You also want to make sure you practice answering interview questions out loud. It's easier to thing of the answer to a question in your head than it is to answer something on the spot. If you have someone that can practice with you, that's great! If not, practice answering questions out loud in a mirror. This will help you get comfortable in hearing yourself talk and seeing how you looks (which could come in handy for a video interview).

Ask yourself the most random, crazy, and off the wall questions. This will do a few things: help you prepare for "surprise" questions in an interview, become comfortable & confident in your answers, and make the other questions seem a lot easier.

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★ Scott’s Answer

Carole gave some great advice. I will be a little bit shorter in my answer.

Try to turn the interview into a conversation about a job and not an interrogation. What I mean is don't just answer questions and wait for the next question. Talk to them; don't wait until the very end to start asking.

Make sure you are a cultural fit. Make your personality shine. Show them you are a team player. This can out weigh the qualifications. They want to hire someone that get along with others and stay in that position for a long time.

Review the company and "behavioral based interview questions". Try to talk about your accomplishments.

Always remain positive. Remember you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

Hopefully that will help you. Best of luck.

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Fiona’s Answer

Always be aware of current events - read and remember one newspaper or news item the day before and be able to talk about it
Same for a major recent news event in the industry
Always research your interview, the company and the role
Be prepared with at least three good questions to ask your interviewer
Do not be late.
Do not underdress

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Luke’s Answer

One of the best pieces of advice I was given is to go into an interview with clarity in your mind that you want to leave 3 things with the interviewer that they will remember as your strengths (eg) I work hard, I am articulate, I have had a lot of success in this industry. If you focus on these 3 things and come out of the interview knowing that you have got those 3 messages across, you have done your best.

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Blake’s Answer

Hey Hollie,

I know it's easy to say vs. actually do, but just be relaxed. Not too relaxed, but don't be nervous. Remember, they are interviewing you because they need to fill a position. I would also recommend arriving early, and making eye contact during the interview.


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Barry’s Answer

Use your Career Center at school to do practice interviews. All the advice above is spot on.

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Simeon’s Answer

A very big *not* is do not speak poorly of previous employers and teams. They will almost always imagine you saying the same things about them if they hire you as an employee. Don't demean or speak poorly of coworkers either. Most companies want someone who gets along well with others. There's already enough drama in the workplace and if you come off as someone who will add to that drama, they'll likely be hesitant to hire you.

At the other extreme, avoid trying to sound like the generic, perfect student. Interviewers know it's difficult to really know a person during an interview, so they are usually scanning for basic interpersonal skills. Show that you can work well with others, motivate yourself, and push through stressful situations calmly and efficiently. Try to have four or five stories about yourself from the past and try to redirect questions toward these stories during the interview. Make sure to choose instances from your past that highlight your positive qualities, including your ability to learn from or perform during difficult situations.

Hi Simeon! Could you add some specific examples of things to avoid doing besides sounding generic/perfect? I think the student is looking to learn what *not* to do, specifically, rather than overall how to do well in an interview. Thanks so much for your answer! Alexandra Carpenter

Howdy Alexandra! I've updated the answer to focus on what things to avoid during an interview. Simeon Snow