BY: RYAN FULLER
It can often be said that interviews are the most difficult, overwhelming, and dreaded aspect of the job search. The Career Services Center sees hundreds of students each year who are seeking assistance for an upcoming interview. We help these students by sharing preparation tips, practicing sample interview questions, helping to understand their own strengths and challenges, and answering any questions they may have about the process. But sometimes, the best way to know how to succeed in an interview is to know what not to do. I surveyed our top employers on what the top 5 interview mistakes that students make, and here is what they had to say:
Mistake #1: Assuming that your interview starts once you enter the building.
“We have had candidates interview well but not accept them because they were impressionable or slightly rude to people they were not interviewing with. Also, by the same token, we chose a candidate that was “tied” with another candidate because he or she offered up his or her seat to someone and offered to grab the candidate water from the cooler because the candidate came into the lobby visibly nervous. It showed leadership and team orientation. People who are not conducting the official interviews are having purposeful interactions with every candidate and are part of the decision process.” – Dan Maniscalco, Project Manager The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Mistake #2: Not knowing the company.
“I think the biggest mistake many interview candidates make is not doing research on the company. It sounds so simple, but you couldn’t imagine how many times I have an initial interview with a candidate and ask him or her ‘What do you know about SevOne?’ only to get an ‘I don’t know much’ in return. This is one, frustrating to me as an interviewer, but more importantly a sure fire sign to me that you are not serious about your job hunt or working here specifically. Take the time to look up your target companies website, use LinkedIn to learn about your interviewers, or people in roles similar to the one for which you are applying.” – Bill Kennedy, Senior Technical Recruiter. SevOne
Mistake #3: Lacking authenticity.
“When the interviewer asks you to share some of the toughest feedback you’ve ever received from a boss, coach or teacher and you think about it and say that you’ve never received any tough feedback, I lose trust in the veracity of your responses.” –Glen Hobbes Human Resources Business Partner, American Air Liquide
Mistake #4: Blanking on the case interview.
“We use a case as part of our interviewing process. I think students get nervous if they haven’t done one before and they tend to get tripped up on questions. My advice would be to work through some case prep questions before your interview and also take your time in the interview itself. Write notes, ask questions and be thoughtful.” – Divya Baliga, Campus Recruiting Specialist | Federal Consulting, Deloitte Services
Mistake #5: Not having questions for the interviewer.
“I typically ask candidates: ‘do you have any questions about our company?’. Some will state they do not have any questions. This is more of an indicator that the candidate is not thinking in depth about the role, the company and generally speaking is not curious or inquisitive. Superior candidates have questions to ask. In a few situations, the candidate may respond, ‘You answered all of the questions that I had on my list’ – which makes me believe or think they at least had questions. Likewise, I view the lack of questions as an indicator of how they will do their work in a more casual, laid back manner.” – DuPont
Ryan Fuller is a Career Counselor at University of Delaware’s Career Services. She is a liaison to the College of Engineering and serves on both the Counseling and Programming and Employer Relations Teams.