You may have all the basics of interviewing down: You’ve researched the company, you had great references, you show up on time and professionally dressed, and you’ve prepped the most common interview questions, so you feel absolutely prepared. However, consider these mistakes as well that, while not career-ending, can still keep you from getting the job.

You can’t do small talk.

Yes, you need to know how to answer questions about the company and how you’d fit into it. But many interviews start with a little back-and-forth, and that part shows whether or not you’ll fit into the culture of the company. If the interview is for a very polished, suit-and-tie kind of company and you take too familiar or casual a tone, for example, an interviewer will consider that a mismatch of personalities. Take your cue from the person you’re speaking with — observe their body positioning and tone of voice and respond in kind. 

You play down your accomplishments.

When you respond to a question with, “I know this may not sound like much, but…” or “Well, this may not sound like the best example…” you’re putting yourself down and inviting the interviewer to think less of what you’re about to say. Speak with confidence and spin everything in the most positive light possible while remaining truthful. And frequently speaking in terms of “we” takes away something from your own accomplishments — speak about what you personally added to the company. 

You don’t bring energy.

Nerves for a big interview may have wreaked a little havoc with your sleep the night before (always come in well-rested if possible!), so you come off a little dull in your demeanor. An interviewer may think that if you can’t find pep enough to make it through an interview, how will you make it through an entire day? Make sure you have some enthusiasm in your voice when you speak — it often helps to have a relevant story ready that gets you excited and brings up feelings of pride or success. And make sure that you actually want the job. Interviewing just because you need the position but don’t actually have interest comes across in your demeanor. 

You overdo your enthusiasm.

On the other hand, you can come across as too effusive. If you come in and gush about how much you love the company, the position, the interviewer’s glasses…you may actually put off the interviewer by seeming too intense or even disingenuous. Keep it realistic — talk about how much you admire the company and then steer it around to how you’d make a perfect fit for the position. Coming on too strong can also appear unprofessional; you don’t know what’s professionally appropriate for certain situations.

If you can manage to avoid these pitfalls, you should have a strong interview and come off as the best version of yourself. For advice on how to nail your next one, visit PrideStaff.

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