5 Bad Interviewing Habits and How to Stop Them
- Being late (or unacceptably early). This is arguably more than just an interviewing bad habit, but if you arrive late for an interview for any reason, you need to immediately correct yourself. For interviews, on time means ten minutes early, and don’t think that this is not being watched. The hiring manager has likely set time aside in a very busy schedule for you, so to show up an hour early expecting to be seen is as presumptuous and inconsiderate as being ten or fifteen minutes late. If you are en route and realize you’ve miscalculated, call the interviewer and let them know.
- Rambling. It can happen to anyone, especially if you’re nervous but there is a fine line between a thorough answer and a sidetrack. You can avoid rambling by listening carefully to the question and taking a second to formulate your answer. A bonus is you will also appear more thoughtful.
- Not answering questions. If an interviewer has asked you a question that has stumped you, the worst thing you can do is try to dance around the question. A better alternative is to ask them to repeat the question, or ask for clarification. If they ask about experience you don’t have, try something like “I haven’t actually done X, but something similar was Y”. This way, you are still answering the question but also highlighting your skills.
- Focusing too much on what’s in it for you. There will definitely come a time where you will need all the information you can get about pay, benefits, and non-tangible perks, but the first interview is not the time to request that information. Yes, employment is a give and take, but you can create a self-serving impression if you jump the gun. Once the employer is convinced you and only you can do this job justice it will be time to find out if this is a good move for you.
- Taking over. There’s a natural ebb and flow in any interview but make sure you don’t start dominating. If you tend to be an assertive person, and the interviewer is not, you can find yourself in the driver’s seat without even meaning to. Be aware of your communication style and make sure you don’t start asking more questions than the interviewer redirect the questions or otherwise take control of the interview. Likewise with interrupting or finishing the interviewer’s sentence. This will not serve you well.
If you review the preceding list and see yourself anywhere, don’t despair! These are all habits that can be broken if you are honest with yourself and willing to try some new behaviours.