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Top 7 Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 1

Top 7 Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Finding a job in India is no cakewalk, especially if you’re a software engineer and prone to making job interview mistakes. Getting an interview call itself comes as a sigh of relief for most people. For starters, an interview call means you’ve gone from being an ‘applicant’ to being an actual ‘candidate’. However, this joy can be short-lived when the nervousness starts to set in. 

As author Karl Wiggins says in his book, Wrong Planet, “A lot of us are very good at our jobs but hopeless at job interviews.” It’s true that the skills required for the job often have very little to do with the skills needed to ace an interview. Especially if you’re a software engineer, you may already know this through experience.

Unfortunately, it’s important to ace an interview if you want to land a good job. But worry not—if you’re jittery about upcoming job interviews, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s look into each of these job interview mistakes in some detail and understand how to avoid them.

Inadequate Research 

Most people do not research their prospective employers, and it shows in the interview. Understanding the people or the organization you’re going to work for is a crucial part of interview preparation. It goes a long way when it comes to building a rapport with the recruiter or interviewer. Doing your research in advance lets recruiters know that you care enough to take this seriously, which already makes you a favourable candidate.

A good way to do your research is to explore its social media presence. Don’t just look at the posts, also go through the comments and reactions. That reveals a lot about a company including its work culture. Knowing these “extra-curriculars” helps you break the ice and direct the flow of the conversation. That sends an excellent message about your interest as well as confidence.

Negative Body Language 

Occupying the maximum amount of physical space possible is perceived to be a threat display. In fact, if you look up the displays that animals put up when threatened in nature, you’ll find them doing exactly that—puffing up, spreading out, and doing whatever they can to appear larger than they are. So remember not to get too comfortable and spread out during an interview.

Similarly, shrinking down shows timidity and a lack of confidence. Creatures tend to try and appear small when they’re retreating. Recruiters surely wouldn’t want someone who doesn’t look like they can’t hold their ground. 

While it’s important to keep these tips in mind, it’s also important not to get obsessed with posture. Stay focused on what you’re saying. Just ensure that you read about good body language for job interviews before walking into an interview. 

Inappropriate Dressing 

It’s good to wear what’s comfortable, but dressing too casually is a major job interview mistake. At the same time, wearing a suit-and-tie to an interview with a small-scale start-up may not be the best idea, either. So, what are you expected to do?

What you should wear depends, to a large extent, on the company you’re interviewing at. There’s sector-appropriate clothing—for example, irrespective of your gender, a suit will go down really well at any financial company or consultancy. The same may be considered overdressing if you’re interviewing with a tech giant like Google or Amazon. Then there’s also company size to think about. Smaller companies tend to be less formal than bigger ones. 

However, some things are an absolute no-no across the board. Shorts, low-waisted pants, crop tops, and figure-hugging clothing are all great examples of stuff you shouldn’t wear irrespective of gender. Leave the neons and bright colours home, too. Basically, think about whether you’d wear something to go out and chill with your friends. That’s usually the stuff you want to avoid wearing to a job interview so that you look serious enough for the occasion.

Criticizing an Old Job 

Even if your former job or boss was truly terrible, make it a point to be diplomatic about what you say. To the idealists among us, this may sound unacceptable; why should you have to cover up for a bad company or bad boss? But here’s the thing: you’re not covering for anybody. You’re simply letting your recruiter know that you aren’t the kind who would tarnish the company name in public during or after your employment with them. 

Doing this is important because nobody wants to hire a person who would bash them in public. Recruiters may try to goad you into doing exactly that; ensure you don’t take the bait. Focus instead on everything you learned from your experiences.

Inadequate Preparation

Someone who walks in with copies of their CV and an approximate understanding of the company and the job at hand is infinitely more impressive than a very smartly-dressed but clueless person. Preparing for an interview includes everything mentioned in our article on how to prepare for a job interview. Obsessing over any one aspect can throw you completely off your game.

Be Confident But Not Arrogant

Have confidence in your own abilities. This helps bring out your positive personality during the interview stage. Subsequently, you perform well in your given assignments and tasks at hand. Conversations get flowing when you speak confidently and you will stay focused on making the most of this opportunity.

Confidence, nevertheless, should not lead to condescending behaviour. Watch your thought patterns that lead to vanity. An exaggerated sense of your abilities can have disastrous results. Instead, stay humble as much as possible. Stop bragging about your achievements and analyse them, in turn, to help your interviewers understand what role your skills can play.

Being Too Friendly With The Interviewer

If by the end of the interview you come off as too friendly the interviewer might view it negatively. To rely just on your resume and skills is definitely not enough during the interview. Social skills are definitely looked at to gauge the emotional intelligence of a candidate. Yet, friendliness is a subjective term. If your interviewer likes their personal space and does want to discuss anything more than work, they are not going to openly say it to you in an interview. They are probably going to score you based on it. Hence, don’t let your overfriendly outlook come in the way of your performance.

In conclusion, we hope that this article has helped you get a grip on your job interview prep. Keep in mind that it is critical to be confident and trust your gut when it comes to job interviews. Wishing you the very best!

At Talent500 by ANSR, we are redefining job searching for India’s best software engineers. We represent Fortune 500 companies who are looking for the top 10% talent. Our dynamic skill assessments and machine learning algorithms match talent to the right opportunities.
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Surya Narayanan

Surya Narayanan

Director of marketing and growth at Talent500. Driving the mobile first approach. An out and out ideas person. Leads his conversations with science and reason. Mentor to many. Always curious, always smiling.

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