Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top Interview Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

I've done a lot of hiring in my life and my work at ExeQserve exposes me and my recruitment team to other interviewers. Our experiences taught us some good lessons about what makes a good or a bad interview. Let me share them with you here. If you have experiences that you like to share to our readers, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Here now is my list:

  1. Being inconsistent with what's written in your CV. Some candidates put so much embelishments (read lie) in their CVs in order to get noticed. While it might get you that job interview appointment, showing signs that you lied will be your "lie-abilty." get it? 
  2. Appearing unprepared and somewhat lethargic. Some people think that all they have to do is show up.  This may sound silly but I cannot count the number of times that I felt this about a candidate. The problem is that some of these people are great or have the potential to be great at what they do, they just happen to suck  in social interaction. A job interview is a social interaction that require some social interaction skills, know what I'm saying? In your next job interview, suit up, psyche up and prepare to build rapport with your interviewer.  It's not rocket science. Read up on Neuro Linguistic Programming, specifically rapport building. It works, I tell you.
  3. Failing to show evidence of competence. If you are a programmer or are applying for any role that requires specific and considerable skill, you have to show some proof of competence. Interviewers, specially the technical interviewers typically ask, well, technical questions. Some prospective employers prefer their prospective employee to be knowledgeable of the nitty-gritty of the job. They also like to know if the candidate, has specific related experiences. It is best to answer in terms of your actual deeds. For example, if you say you are part of a project team that completed the development of a particular software project, don't claim the accomplishment of the whole team. Talk about your role, what you did and your contribution to the success of the project.  If what you did is significant enough and you handled your role well enough, you should be able to increase their interest in you.
  4. Showing poor communication skills.  Even if say your kind of job does not require a lot communication skill and all other things being equal, you are likely to be overshadowed by those candidates who are better at communicating. It pays to invest in developing your oral and written communication skills. If you recognize that you are poor at this, I suggest that you address it.
  5. Being unattractive. No, I don't have an ugly face discrimination. Some people can be quite attractive despite having  homely features. On the other hand some can be quite unattractive despite having physically attractive features.  I'm talking about like-ability here. Are you likeable, what qualities do you have that make people like you? Please don't say none.  We all have it. (or am I being too optimistic?) It is important to demonstrate your positive qualities as a person and as a co-worker. Employers want to hire people they will like to work with. People who are easy to talk to, does not suck out all the positive energy out of you. all these aside from being kick-ass good at work.
The mantra, put your best foot forward is still the best policy in going to a job interview. It doesn't start when you sit down in front of the interviewer. It starts way, way before that. Take this advice and then some and I'm sure your batting average will improve if you are having a hard time getting employed now.

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