If you’re one of the increasing number of Singaporeans looking for a job, then you know how tough the job market is. Even if you’re not actively looking, we all know that in the course of our multi-decade careers, we are unlikely to remain in the same position or company for the entire time.
As you advance along the job search process, you will inevitably come to the final hurdle: the much feared job interview. Knowing how to perform well during the job interview is an invaluable skill you need to secure a job today.
While each hiring manager and organisation have their own set of hoops they want you to jump through, there are some easily avoidable mistakes that otherwise competent candidates make that handicaps their own chances at securing that dream job.
Thus, here are 4 critical mistakes that you should avoid at all costs at your next job interview.
# 1 Ignorance towards the company and job
If you’re fortunate enough to be shortlisted for an interview, chances are the hiring manager (and possibly many others) have read your resume and carefully considered your suitability. If you show up at the interview not even having a basic idea about what the company does or how you can contribute to it, then you’re not getting the job.
If you can’t be bothered to do preliminary research about the company before going for an interview, then what does it say about your seriousness about the job and about your attitude as a person? Imagine being lost for words when being asked to discuss basic facts about the company. Awkward? That sounds about right.
You should aim to know as much as you can about the company that you are applying for. This means going an extra mile to learn more about the company; what are their achievements thus far, what are certain areas that they are lacking in, and more.
Bear in mind that if the job position is so desirable, there are probably many other talented individuals who also want the job.
Being well-prepared with research, you should be able to set yourself apart and hold an informed discussion about the company, industry and issues that are related to your new role.
# 2 Exaggerating your qualities
It is important to present yourself in the best possible light. However, that does not mean you should use over-the-top descriptions, or worse still, list skills that you don’t actually have to bolster your resume.
If you say you’re an expert in something, then you must be able to convince your interviewer. Otherwise, you’re come across as pretentious and disingenuous, which will not help you land that job.
Instead of including certain skills that you don’t really have just to make a good impression (and having that ultimately backfiring), think harder about what your positive qualities and abilities and highlight those that would be most beneficial to the company.
# 3 Making a poor first impression
Coming late, donning a sloppy attire, having unkempt hair – these are some ways you can make an awful first impression, which you need to avoid doing at all costs.
Your appearance and the way you present yourself are the first things your interviewer notices, whether they want to or not. If you’ve left an awful first impression, you put yourself at a disadvantage even if you previously established yourself as a candidate with good potential.
Being well-groomed in appearance when you go for an interview complements your behind-the-scenes preparations, such as coming with well-conceptualised ideas and materials.
# 4 Being unprepared for the interview
Even if you’re on time for an interview, that will not matter if you weren’t meticulous enough to have everything you need.
Carefully read through any instructions sent by the hiring manager, whether it is regarding the location, dress code, things to bring, or any assignments they want you to complete before the interview.
Being unprepared could also mean not bringing the basics, such as originals of your academic qualifications or having a pen handy to fill in forms. As the saying goes, “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance”.
The next time you have an interview, go through these pointers again and avoid making these avoidable blunders. All the best!
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