The Top 5 Interview Pitfalls: How to Lose a Job in 30 Minutes

Everybody who is in their mid career remembers how difficult it was to be interviewed for an entry-level position. Most new applicants don’t know about the most common pitfalls, simply due to the fact that they haven’t received any feedback. Companies rarely give applicants feedback as to why they didn’t receive an offer. It becomes exceedingly frustrating for a recent college graduate to continually be told “thank you for your interest but we have gone another way” without knowing how to improve. There are a few things that most new job-seekers can either do or avoid doing to prevent undue confusion.


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1. Not asking any questions

Although it can be nerve-racking to ask a number of questions, it’s crucial to have multiple inquiries prepared. At the end of the interview, the applicant will be asked “do you have any questions” and if they answer “no” the interview is essentially over.

Appropriate questions will vary depending on the field, however new job-seekers should have a minimum of 3 to 5 questions about the job its self prepared to let the HR department know that they are both interested in the job and knowledgeable about their field.

2. Saying “this would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about the field”

This is only okay to say in the case of an internship. Of course, the point of an internship is to learn about the field and the majority of interns are paid minimum wage or in college credits. Job-seekers with a baccalaureate degree should be aware that the interviewer already knows it’s a good opportunity for them, this goes without saying for an entry-level applicant. Even though it may have been a simple nervous faux pas, these types of statements make an applicant appear self-centered and implies that they may not be able to work well in a group or that they simply aren’t ready to focus on self-improvement and constructive criticism within the company (CLICK: “Top 10 Things Not to Say in an Interview”).

3. Asking “when should I expect a raise?”

Although good companies generally offer a token raise after the first 12 to 24 months, this should never be inquired about at the interview. Of course, money is a large part of having a job; everybody has bills to pay after all. However, if the job-seeker appears to be overly money oriented it generally results in an alternate candidate being hired. Although it’s absolutely okay to discuss a starting salary range, applicants should not inquire about a raise until they have been with the company for a minimum of one year.

4. Stating or conveying that the applicant doesn’t have any experience in the field

Entry-level employees generally do not have any direct experience with a particular company but everybody has some kind of skill that they can apply to the job. Job-seekers who have absolutely no knowledge of the field should probably apply elsewhere. Entry-level applicants should think about other things they did that can add to the company and are strongly encouraged to gather a list of all their skills, either directly or indirectly related to their new field, prior to arriving at an interview.

5. Saying “I have no weaknesses” when asked “what is your least desirable quality” during the interview

This is a common question that most people hate being asked. Finding a job is all about self promotion and discussing weaknesses seems like a bad idea. Many applicants exclaim that their worst quality is that “they are too organized” or that they have “too many friends”. Interviewers don’t appreciate a weakness being disguised as a positive attribute (in this case the weakness is lack of humility) and they have all heard these types of answers before (READ: “6 Tips For A Successful Skype Interview”). It’s important for a job-seeker to think about what their true weaknesses are. For example, some people have a lot of trouble getting up in the morning and others find it difficult to work late into the evening. Some people prefer to be a leader while others are more comfortable following somebody else’s instructions. If an applicant explains that they are more comfortable in a group then taking charge, they will probably not receive a leadership position but they may be offered an excellent position working as a member of a team. It’s necessary for applicants to be honest and admit that they are human just like the rest of us.

In Short

2015 is a difficult time to find an entry-level position, however, it’s important that, if an applicant does receive an interview for their dream job, that they don’t lose it to one of these common pitfalls. Preparation is the key to a successful interview experience.

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