Interview mistakes: Part 2

Today I continue my discussion of Dave Kerben’s article on job interview mistakes with a category I call: “I don’t mean to be rude. . . .”

Taking a phone call or checking messages. Kerpen’s article says that it is common in China for people to do this during interviews, but it’s not yet acceptable in the U.S., and I hope it never is. Communicating with others in any form when you’re supposed to be focused on the interviewer(s) is just rude, and it leads an interviewer to conclude that you don’t respect or care about the organization, the people, or the job. I’d suggest you turn your phone off before going into an interview, or at least silence it.

Having a know-it-all mentality. There are few things more annoying than someone who comes in to an interview thinking they not only know everything about what the organization does, but also how to improve it. While it’s true that you need to do your research, there is a huge difference between knowing what they do and thinking that you already know how to do it better. Recognize that every new job is a learning experience, and be open to new ideas and new ways to do things. While you may have some good ideas that will help them improve—and it’s hoped that you will—you should not offer your ideas in the interview. That has to come after you have learned the ropes and become part of the team.

Confusing us with a competitor. Wow. This one is BAD. The story told here was of a phone interview where the interviewee gave all the reasons he wanted to work for company x, but he was interviewing with company y. Good to do your research—about the organization and its competitors—but don’t ever forget who you’re talking to!

Making the interview too much about you. I like what the employer who wrote about this said so much that I’m just going to quote her: “It’s not about what you need at this point; it’s about what you have to offer and what you bring to the table.”