Do you think that interview blunders are just for the inexperienced, early-in-career job candidates? A colleague of mine, Katharine Hansen, the author of Top Notch Executive Resumes (my resume samples are published in here) has started conducting research on a follow-up publication that focuses on executive interviews and you might be surprised at the mistakes that even executives like you are making on interviews.
Unfortunately, there are too many to report, so, I sifted through them and decided to focus on these seven:
1) Giving long-winded, rambling answers to interview questions
This is one area I warn my clients about over and over again. The best approach is to listen carefully to the question, focus on about three key points in your answer and then stop talking. I have found that interviewees get nervous when there is silence or there is little response for the interviewer, so they feel the need to keep talking.
2) Criticizing your current or former employer
This approach is just bad all around - regardless of how negative or disappointing your experience with your former employer has been, provide your interviewer with highlights of experience that would be most beneficial to the new company.
3) Providing general answers without supporting examples
Avoid vague answers like - "I am a great leader who gets the job done" or "I am known for being a good team player" - these are answers that anyone can give. Instead, support claims about your strengths or areas of expertise with specific examples. Try using C-A-R or S-T-A-R strategy to formulate your answers.
4) Having limited knowledge about prospective employer
There is no excuse for walking into an interview without doing any research on the company. Start off with the company's website and annual reports, search prweb.com and other online press release sources to learn about any recent company changes, Google the person(s) who will be interviewing you if possible, and maximize your personal and professional network to learn insider tips before going on your actual interview.
5) Failing to ask quality questions about the company
Before going on an interview, think carefully about what you would like to know about the company that would help you make a decision. Remember to interview them as much as they are interviewing you - when given the opportunity to ask questions, make sure that you ask plenty of questions.
A few easy ones to start with are:
-- Who will I be reporting to directly?
-- Are there growth opportunities through this position?
-- How many people have held this position in the past year?
-- What are the challenges or issues currently facing the company or division?
6) Giving overused, scripted responses to interview questions
I am often amused in the beginning when conducting interview coaching and I get the "canned", predictable interview answers. Sure there are a lot of resources out there that guide you in interview preparation, but make sure that you bring YOU to the interview.
Respond to questions in your own voice, let your personality shine through, remember to smile and be yourself - not every answer you find in a career book can be used in your interviews.
7) Being unenthusiastic and lethargic
It is redundant to say that we are really in some tough times - more likely than not, you will go on a series of interviews and have to go through a lot of "no's" before you get a job offer. However, do everything possible to check your disappointment, disillusion and fear at the door and bring you best foot forward.
Be energetic, excited, enthusiastic and optimistic - I know that this is not an easy task, but take advantage of your personal support team or local job clubs to help you get through the unemployment phase.
Abby M. Locke of Premier Writing Solutions (www.premierwriting.com) is a executive master resume writer and career marketing architect who helps talented professionals and senior-level executives to achieve career success through cutting-edge, brand-focused career documents, innovative job search tools, and proactive career management strategies.