Best Practices

Three traps that could ruin your job interview

By Wiley Larsen on May 1, 2019

Making a good impression at a job interview can be tricky. You should definintely show up on time, dress appropriately, and research the company. But those things are all givens.

Once you are in the actual interview, there are three traps that sometimes trip people and limit their chances of success.

Trap #1: Don’t just sell yourself

A lot of the questions the interviewer asks you will be about you, so it can become really easy to just talk about yourself the whole time. Don’t do that. You have to strike a balance between talking about yourself and talking about the company. Any opportunity you get to turn one of their questions into a conversation about the company, take it. And another thing: Don’t wait until the end of the interview for the hiring manager to ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” You should have a bunch of smart questions prepared, and you should fire them off as soon as its appropriate within the conversation. The more you can talk about the company, the more you can talk about yourself without it feeling unbalanced.

Trap #2: Share the credit

Don’t take sole credit for your accomplishments. I know it’s tempting, especially if indeed you did do 99% of the work. But you don’t want to come across as arrogant, so it’s always important to give credit to the larger team. Hiring managers like to hear how much you value your colleagues and how much they help make your projects great, so lean into teamwork over self-congratulations. After all, the interviewer is trying to figure out if you would be a good fit for their team.

Trap #3: Don’t be passive

What we mean is, don’t let the interviewer steer the entire conversation. Don’t just answer exactly what they ask and sit there waiting for the next question. Realize that the interview, in and of itself, is a test. They want to see how you handle yourself in a conversation and that you can be proactive and not just reactive. So take the questions they ask and answer them directly, and then try to steer them into the points that you want to make, or the questions that you want to ask them. That will make it feel more like a conversation, which is always better than an interrogation.

Keep an eye out for these traps, and you’ll be sure to kill the interview, rather than the interview killing you.

- Taken from Fast Company