The job market throughout Canada is hot. With record low unemployment rates — if you’re looking for a new role, and not having much luck, those stats can be a bit ego-crushing to hear. Because you start to wonder, “Why can’t I find a job?”
There are many reasons why you may not be getting any job action, so focus on something you CAN control.
Don’t make these 9 common job interview MISTAKES:
1. Going into too much granular detail about each of your jobs.
In every job interview, you’ll be asked to highlight each of your roles. Virtually every job seeker panics at the idea of having to talk about every position. Most job seekers make the BIG mistake of going into way too much detail. I call it “the weeds” of your job. Don’t do that.
Keep your conversation high level. Succinct and to the point. Highlight your successes (yes, #’s, $’s and %’s).
Let the Hiring Manager dive into the weeds – let them ask for more detail about the parts of your job and successes that are of interest to them and to the job you’re applying on.
2. Skipping pre-interview planning or rehearsing.
BIG MISTAKE! A job interview is like an “on-stage” performance. You need to plan and rehearse walking through your resume as well as planning out answers to some common questions.
Rehearsing out loud helps to commit what you’re saying to your short-term memory. When a case of the nerves hit (as they often do in job interviews), your short-term memory kicks in and helps you with quick memory recall. On the flip side, if you don’t rehearse out loud, everything is sitting in your long-term memory, which can easily fail you in a stressful situation.
When you rehearse out loud, you’ll also hear when your delivery is choppy. Keep rehearsing until it’s smooth.
3. Not remaining objective about why you’re leaving (or left) your jobs.
Rehearse your answers out loud. Are you being objective? Do you sound a tad angry? Are you blaming? If so, you’re not ready for your interview. You need to sound calm and objective, yet accountable.
If you’re stumbling through this answer. Take some time and write out how you want to respond. Then rehearse.
4. Using the wrong words to describe a corporate layoff.
When you’ve been part of a layoff, never use the words “let go”. Let go means termination or fired. And, my alarm bells go off when I hear those words! And, while terminations happen to good people, I’ll be digging to find out WHY.
Also, share what happened with the company that resulted in the layoff. Loss of a major client? Business closure due to the pandemic? Relocation of business to another province or country? Don’t assume the hiring manager knows what happened in the company.
5. Feeling like you’re bragging when talking about your achievements.
Get rid of that thought! I’m hiring how well you’ve performed in the past, so be ready to talk about it! (HINT: I’ve written a ground-breaking resume formula in my book, “Hired!” that focuses all on achievements. If you’re a little shy about talking about your achievements, ensure you’ve captured them clearly on your resume. You can then say in an interview, “As you can see from my resume, I’ve listed some of the key successes, that include….”
The hiring manager will then break eye contact with you (which can give you a quick minute to catch your breath if you’re nervous) and read your achievements.
6. Offering your references at the end of the interview…when the Hiring Manager hasn’t asked for them.
NEVER offer your references unless requested.
You lose a bit of control as the job seeker if you do offer them. You have no idea if they are interested in the next steps with you as a candidate. And, you can’t properly prep your references on when and who may be calling.
Resist and wait for the hiring manager to request your references. You can then alert your references who will be calling and the timeframe. You should also ask your references to advise you when they’ve been called. It’s a good sign if references have been completed, so you’ll know you’re still in the running for the job!
7. Asking Silly End-Of-Interview Questions:
Silly end-of-interview questions include:
What is the salary?
What are the benefits?
How many weeks of vacation?
Sure, all of these questions are important and will absolutely get answered through the process. But they do nothing to make you a stand-out candidate.
Do some research on company press releases, social media announcement and even the career of the person you’re interviewing with to come up with some clever questions. (This is why LinkedIn is so important!)
Write your questions down and bring them to the interview. You don’t have to memorize these questions. You’ve got enough to remember in the interview!
8. Leaving the interview without asking about timing and next steps.
Most candidates miss this KEY question. If the hiring manger doesn’t outline the next steps and timing. ASK.
“What are the next steps in the interview process? And, what is the timing?”
And, you can’t miss this question, “If I haven’t heard from you by that day, may I follow up with you?” (Ensure you get a yes to the question and their phone number!)
If you’re given a yes to this question, ensure you follow up. Because most people don’t. And, they miss this big opportunity!
9. Do a post-interview assessment.
After each interview, take a moment for a bit of reflection.
What questions did you answer well?
What questions did you stumble through? Write these questions down and add to your preparation for the next interview.