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Job interviews are stressful situations for most of us. We want to make a good impression and convince the interviewer of our suitability for the job. But, the stress of trying to have a perfect interview may actually cause us to make mistakes. We can often avoid many common job interview mistakes by planning ahead and practicing what we will say and do.
1. Failing to properly prepare
Understand as much as you can about the company before the interview. The idea is not to prepare to avoid job interview mistakes by learning just statistics about the company, but rather by trying to understand the company culture. Read their website to gather the tone — is it formal or informal? Are the biographies humorous or serious? Most importantly, what is the mission statement and core values of the company? Anticipate the questions you could be asked and practice your answers out loud.
2. Being late
Everyone knows that you should never be late for a job interview. Yet, it happens. Have your outfit clean and ready to go the night before. Put your jacket, keys and everything you need right by the door before you go to bed so it's all there while you're trying to get out the door to your interview. Pretend you're supposed to be there a half hour ahead of time and then wait in a nearby coffee shop if you're too early.
3. Not bringing important backup documents
Bring a few extra copies of your resume in case it turns out you'll be interviewed by a panel rather than one interviewer. While it's certainly not one of the most terrible job interview mistakes if you just bring one copy of your resume, having one per interviewer will make you look well-prepared and professional. Also bring along any letters of recommendation. If you reach a point in the interview where you're asked about your suitability for the position, sell yourself but also produce the back up letter from your folder or case. A reporter who hands out his or her published samples at an interview has a better chance of getting the job than one with no samples.
4. Omitting the thank you card
Sending a thank you card or a thank you email the day after the interview is certainly appreciated by most potential employers. It makes the candidate appear both polite and professional. This is one of the most common job interview mistakes and it may even make or break the chance for a second interview if other candidates express their thanks and interest and you do not. Be sure to chose a card design appropriate for a business image, but not too pretentious. Simply thank the interviewer for his or her time and mention that you're still very interested in the position and hope to hear from him or her soon.
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