The Most Common Interview Mistakes

interview tips Feb 17, 2022

Have you ever completed a job interview and thought you crushed it? Then, you later find out that you didn’t get the job. Maybe the interview didn’t go as well as you thought. There are some common mistakes you likely made before and during the interview. These simple mistakes could be the difference between getting your dream job or not. Here are the key items you need to consider:

Item #1—Human Practice

I reference human practice often because this item is critical to your success. No matter how much you prepare for your interview, few things are as valuable as getting feedback from another person. They will be able to give you a fair critique of your performance. This can help you improve your engagement skills and be more prepared for the actual interview. It all starts with creating a practice plan.

You may not think that people are willing to help, but the first step is to put in the effort. Find a friend, colleague or someone currently at the company where you are interviewing. If these aren’t possibilities, then hire an interview coach to work with you. The investment of time and/or money will be worth it if you are able to land your dream job. The critical insights they will be able to give you are something you’ll never be able to get practicing by yourself.

Item #2—P.O.C. Relationship

The relationship with your point of contact (P.O.C.) is also crucial to your interview success. Your P.O.C. may be your Recruiter or your direct hiring manager. As a candidate, you must build a stronger relationship with this person upfront.

The way you build a better relationship is by asking a ton of questions. Don’t ever blame that person for not giving you enough information and costing you the job. The responsibility is yours to ask questions and gather that information. Then, you can use this knowledge to your advantage during the interview stage. Here are a few of the questions you may be asking:

  •   What is the setup of the interview?
  •   What are the focus areas?
  •   What are the types of questions they like to ask?
  •   What are the steps in the process?
  •   When will I hear back after the interview?
  •   What is the P.O.C.’s preferred method of communication?

Item #3—Write & Restate

Misunderstanding the question is one of the most common mistakes candidates make. You should always write down the key points of the question and then restate the question to your interviewer. If you don’t do this, there’s a good chance you mess up at least one important question during the interview. Take your time to understand the question before crafting your response. It also shows that you care about getting it right, and this can go a long way in making a positive impression with your interviewer.

Item #4—Take Your Time

Speaking of taking your time, this is another critical item that can affect your interview performance. The vast majority of people take less than one second to start answering an interview question. This is a recipe for disaster. You are literally giving your brain no time at all to process the question and form a meaningful response.

Always ask clarifying questions, along with writing down and re-stating the original question as mentioned above. Then, tell your interviewer that you would like to take a minute to think about the question. The pause may seem awkward for you, but it will not bother your interviewer. They can keep themselves busy by checking their email or the weather while you take a moment to think. Then, you can work through your answer structure and prepare a great response. 

Item #5—Visuals

If you are not creating a visual image for your interviewer, you are not going to make a strong connection. Your likelihood of success will continue to go down throughout the interview if you aren’t making visual connections. When answering behavioral questions, you will need to bring visuals into all the components of your answer, from the situation and task, to the actions, to the results. When answering open-ended questions, the visuals will be most critical in your assumptions and solution.

Please check out my full video on this topic below:

For more interview tips and resources, be sure and check out my YouTube Channel, my blog and sign up on Practice Interviews.


Jeff H. Sipe

Jeff has interviewed over 1000 people in his career and previously spent five years working at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. You likely found Jeff through YouTube and you will find the same level of dedication in his one on one practice interview sessions.

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