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7 Biggest Interview Mistakes HR Professionals Encounter


Ever wonder what the average Human Resource professional notices in an interview when they glance across the hiring desk? As a job seeker, this could be some very valuable insight to have – a clear advantage over other candidates who are oblivious to the mistakes they make in the interviewing hot seat.

job interview mistakes

Some people think that HR pros are calculating or hyper-analytical when engaged in an interview. While they are trained to conduct interviews in a strategic manner, human resource and recruitment professionals are actually just trying to match the right job with the right candidate. However, there is one thing to be said about HR professionals with a few years under their belts. They’ve probably seen and heard it all when dealing with interviews. And some of the crazy things they’ve seen could cause you to think twice as a candidate.

To help you avoid making a serious snafu at the next job interview you participate in, here are some of the biggest interview mistakes in the history of human resources (to avoid at all costs).

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#1 – The poor first impression

When you are interviewing for a job, the first few minutes with the recruiter or HR manager are absolutely critical. Studies have shown that the way you introduce yourself to a recruiter, even down to the handshake, matters. Be professional, polite, look the part, and most importantly, smile and make eye contact.

#2 – Ill-prepared for the interview

An interview is just the start of an exciting new journey, therefore you will want to prepare for the interview. One of the pet peeves of many recruiters is that the candidate knows nothing about the company, despite the fact that there is a corporate website available from which to learn something. Take the time to do this so you can better understand the objectives of the company.

#3 – Wrong place, wrong time

Chances are, the interview has been scheduled for a specific time and at a specific location for a reason. Showing up an hour early or worse yet, more than five minutes late, can really upset the apple cart. Before the interview, get your GPS set with the accurate location and get there 15-minutes early.

#4 – It’s not a family affair

It’s one thing to be invited to an interview; it’s another to invite your entire family to come along. HR people are not interested in meeting your kids, your spouse, or your parents at the interview. Arrange for childcare and come prepared as if today is your first day on the job.

#5 – Shut up and let me talk

HR folks often encounter the candidate who wants to do all the talking, and this can be troublesome. Why? The interview is a chance for the HR person to ask a specific set of questions to get to the core of your talents and what you can bring to the table. This is not the time to discuss personal family matters, politics, or your favorite hobbies.

#6 – Going once, going twice

Salary negotiations are always awkward, but if you are in an interview and you immediately start asking about the compensation, then you are probably not going to get the job. Instead, take the PayScale Survey to find out how much you should earn in the position, and wait for the interviewer to bring the money and benefit issues up and then ask a couple of relevant questions.

#7 – Negative Nelly (or Ned)

If there is one mistake that a candidate can make during an interview, it’s to speak badly about a former employer or client. To do so sets the precedence that you will be looking for negative things to say about this company too. And no one likes to hire negative people.

As you boldly go into each interview, try to keep these behaviors under wraps to avoid making the most common mistakes in interviews. You will likely impress the hiring manager much more by being professional, positive, and proactive about your career goals.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you narrowly avoided some of the interviewing mistakes above? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

5 Things NOT to Say in a Job Interview 

7 Confessions of Job Interviews Gone Wrong

Body Language Can Make or Break a Job



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Tess C. Taylor
Read more from Tess C.

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