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By Lilian Wamaitha
A candidate once asked me; what’s the difference between a mediocre candidate and just an awful one?
And my answer was simple; there is no difference simply because neither of them will be getting the job.
If you have an interview before, I am sure you know better not to answer your phone or be rude to the interviewer.
But what most of us don’t realize is that these are not the only behaviors that would send you straight to the reject pile.
So if you’ve attended a number of interviews that don’t get past that stage, just think back if you are indulging in any of the following toxic behaviors;
1. You never ask questions
If you are the kind of job seeker who always goes “No I don’t have any questions. I think I have understood everything from the interview” truth be told, you are not doing yourself any favors.
Without realizing it you are making yourself forgettable. You are not leaving an impression that the interview would like to know you better by offering you’re the job.
In short you are not raising their curiosity. If you have gotten past the application stage to an interview, why would you do anything to sabotage your one chance of landing a job?
Never walk to an interview room without any questions for the interviewer.
An interview is not supposed to be an interrogation but a discussion between two adults on your suitability for the position.
Have at least two or three questions that are related to the role and the company because then again you don’t want the interview to seem like you are the one interviewing your potential employer with your many questions.
2. You recite your answers
Freaking out when attending an interview is completely normal. But that does not mean that you cram all answers to common interview question because you don’t want to give the wrong answer.
The interviewer has interviewed so many people who have all sat where you are sitting. They have heard all manner of answers and what will make you stand out is your approach to them
You don’t have to memorize anything. Instead give your story while still answering the question. This way you make yourself unforgettable and trust me, you will be getting that offer.
3. You use a lot of cliché words that you never back up
If you have been looking for job for a long time now, it’s only natural that you already know the kind of skills an employer is looking for in a certain position.
So telling them that you are hard-working, motivated and a team player may seem like a smart move but it’s not.
Being an organized team player is okay, only if the interviewer believes that you are what you claim to be. And the only way you can make that happen is if you back up your claim with real examples.
Before you go for the interview, have a list of the skills that you think the employer is looking for and then from your previous work experience, find how you can back up those skills.
“I single handedly managed an event for 700 people” sounds more impressive than “I organized a big event”.
4. You are polite rather than friendly
As a job seeker, you are aware that appearing competent in the interview is the surest way of securing that job. But what you don’t know is that appearing likeable is just as important.
When you build rapport with the interviewer, you are ensuring that you stay on their mind during the decision making process.
A majority of the time, the person interviewing you will most likely be your future line manager or someone you will closely work with so it’s just as important to them that they pick a candidate who they believe will be a good addition to the team.
So keep smiling, crack jokes and if you find out that you have something in common with the interviewer, jump on that opportunity.
5. You have no interesting hobbies
One of the battles you have to win when making any application is standing out. Some cool and unusual hobbies elicit interest and can be great conversation starters.
A lot of job seekers, including you however, think that mentioning non-work related hobbies in an interview is unprofessional.
Employers and interviewers are people too and a candidate who lets it slip that they do stand-up comedy during their free time is much more memorable that one who doesn’t allow a ray of their personality to shine.
When it comes to interviews, the person who wins at last and gets the job is the one who is unforgettable. You may have all the qualifications, be the best fit for the job and still not hear back from them. Leave an impression by creating rapport with the interviews because like I mentioned earlier most likely that is the person you will be reporting to either directly or indirectly.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a HR and Recruitment firm offering trainings, coaching and job placements. Got an interview coming up? Learn all about our “Get Hired Now 1 on 1 Interview coaching by clicking here.