1) Too little or too much confidence
This is a bit of a no brainer. Confidence is highly important. Interviewers can sense nervousness, as a shark smells blood, and can leave them with a false impression of you.
Some people believe you are either born with confidence or not. Wrong! Confidence is just another skill which can be honed just like the others.
One great confidence boosting way to think of an interview is to see as conversation with a friend who wants to know more about your career. Obviously, you can’t be as informal (although, many employers in creative and digital companies prefer informal ‘meetings’, perhaps in a coffee shop, to formal interviews).
Another approach is to walk into the room as if you have already been offered the job and the interview is a mere formality. This can be problematic though, as you could appear arrogant. But this technique does improve confidence.
Quite simply, you need to believe in yourself. Another confidence building technique is affirmation. Confidence stems from belief in yourself. To build up self belief in the run up to the interview, affirm your successes privately by saying short buzzy sentences to yourself. For example, ‘I am a great salesperson’ and ‘I achieved salesperson of the month 4 times.’ For a great way to practice your interview content, as well as the presentation, why not repeat one of your STAR answers.
Confidence can also stem from knowledge so really doing your research helps, so does great preparation such as all of the points this article makes.
For more great advice on confidence read 8 Self Confidence Secrets
2) Bad body language
You need to be careful with your eye contact – avoiding or breaking eye contact could give your interviewer the false impression that you are a shady, untrustworthy character. However intense staring at the interview is also no good.
When you speak you should make eye contact. When you are listening you can break eye contact a little more often. This will make you appear confident, likeable and appear to be a good listener – demonstrating great transferable skills for most jobs. Yes, at first, this might seem unnatural to you – why not practice with your friends.
Most people touch their lips or nose when they are lying. Keep your body movements in check. Avoid touching your face when you speak otherwise you’ll appear nervous and the interviewer may get a false impression of you that you are lying or exaggerating.
According to a recent study on sales professionals, those who mirrored the body language of their customers made significantly more sales than their colleagues. Analyse the speed at which the interviewer is speaking. If they speak fast you should try and match their speed as they are likely to get bored if you speak slow. The reverse is also true. If your interviewer speaks slowly and you speak fast – they will likely struggle to absorb what you have to say. Remember, your interview, and indeed the whole recruitment process, is a sales and marketing pitch.
3) Speaking negatively
Avoid negativity at all costs – regardless of the subject. You have never had a bad boss. A bad colleague. Bad software. Only focus on the negatives. Never use the word ‘problem’ – use the word ‘challenge’ instead. For example there were challenges dealing with our team based in another country but we overcame these challenges with strategy a, b, and c.
If you badmouth previous employers, what do you think this is going to tell the interviewer about you? You have a negative mindset.
Furthermore, do not tell your prospective employer any confidential information about your past employers, or about yourself – interviewers will not appreciate this and cause them to have negative opinions about you. It is surprising the amount of people who have missed out on the job of their dreams by making this mistake.
4) Not doing research
If you do not know about the company then the interviewer will assume you dont want the job. Spend at least an hour before any job looking through the companies website. Also search for articles and news about the company. Analyse recent press releases, big projects the company has completed. Also looking at the companies competition. What are they doing well?
There are questions coming such as ‘why our company’, ‘why this position?’ Have your answer ready. It doesn’t look good if you cannot explain the attraction of the company and role.
5) Not having the knowledge you claim
Careful what you put on your CV. If you have skills and experience on there that you are unsure of you could get caught out in the interview. If you have weaknesses make sure you spend time brushing up on those skills. Take online courses, watch videos. Match the items on the job spec to your CV. Whats missing? what areas do you need to improve your understanding of before the interview?