Interviews can be nerve-wracking.
You’ve worked hard to craft your cover letter and résumé, and you know you’ve done well enough to secure a coveted interview. You’re well aware that the moment you walk through your interviewer’s doors that you’ve got a very small window to impress them – and it doesn’t help that your heart is hammering rapidly against your chest, because chances are, you really, really, really want this opportunity but feel close to fumbling.
If you’ve ever fallen flat on your face during an interview, be it for an internship or something else, remember not to ruminate over past mistakes but instead, learn from them.
Here are some common interview mistakes and what you can do to bounce back.
Not researching the company
We’ve all heard the quote: by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.
Preparation is key to soothing your anxious nerves for any interview, and failing to read up on a company is as good as failing to adequately prepare for your interview.
If you haven’t taken the time to go through their website, LinkedIn account or browse the latest news written about them, you’re unlikely to stand out from the competition. Learning about the company can help you understand the company’s culture and values, as well as their key players, helping you understand who they are and what they care about.
Not dressing the part
Showing up casually dressed for an interview with a company that prides itself on its professional look sends a message that you haven’t done your homework on them.
It’s important to understand that company cultures vary, which means what’s accepted in one workplace may not bode well with another. In some companies, it’s acceptable to wear sneakers and jeans to work, but in others, formal wear is the norm.
If in doubt, call the HR representative to inquire about the dress code, or come in wearing formal wear. Realising you’ve made a mistake by coming to an interview in a funky patterned t-shirt while everyone else is dressed professionally doesn’t just make you stand out in a bad way, it can also negatively affect your performance and chances of getting the job.
Failing to ask questions after the interview
You’ll be flooded with relief when the interviewer states they’ve finished with their questions, but when they politely ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”, it’s really important for you to engage.
Asking questions after an interview not only allows you to address anything your hiring manager has failed to mention or clarify about the company or your potential tasks in the role (if you were to get it), but it also demonstrates your curiosity about and interest in working for the company.
Not saying enough might give the impression that you’re too reserved or aren’t that interested in the role, so if you’re the type who gets nervous or anxious, be sure to practise asking questions beforehand with a trusted friend.