Keep an eye out for these lesser-known but important interview mishaps. Be sure to put your best foot forward and succeed!
It’s that time where summer is over and the job market starts to pick up again slowly but surely, despite the continuing COVID fears. With the job market seeing an ever-increasing number of people job-seeking and most companies keeping hiring at a minimum, making the most of the interview you have lined up is essential.
Nevertheless, an interview in the French part of Switzerland can bring with it some surprises if you are a first-time job seeker in the area. First organise your thoughts with the interview preparation matrix from B-inspired to know what is relevant and not. Then consider these points for the discussion itself.
Over the course of my career, I’ve seen many, many good candidates with potential who, to their own great surprise, fail to get the job following an interview. Often there are some subtle, almost unnoticeable messages sent, meant to support an application, but that end up doing more harm than good. Watch out for these:
You are too nice
Your Behaviour: You are simply a nice person, and you want to get the job. You come across as friendly, agreeable, and pleasant. This is one of the biggest and most invisible pitfalls! Invisible because it is highly unlikely the diplomatic Swiss will point this out to you, it’s not a nice conversation to have and they in no way want to hurt or embarrass you.
What the interviewer feels: Who are you really? In all likelihood your future employer cannot identify what exactly to expect from you, and therefore has trouble visualising you in the company. Furthermore, he/she is also wondering whether you are able to stand your ground when faced with a situation involving conflict.
Solve the issue: Know yourself well, and don’t be too modest or insecure about showing who you are. Clarify what can be expected of you and what will you do when faced with difficult situations. Be specific and have examples to back up your claims. Your nature as a nice person will always be felt regardless, but now your substance will too.
You talk too much
Your Behaviour: Some of us are very focussed on “convincing” a future employer we are the perfect match for them. Except that we assume we know their criteria, which of course we rarely do.
What the interviewer feels: Bored. They are listening to a monologue and they can’t get a question in to find out what they really want to know. They are uncomfortable interrupting you and stop trying after some time and put an end to the interview, leaving you feeling like you got your point across.
Solve the issue: Train yourself (over and over until you get it right) to answer the question well, and then stop. Just stop! If the answer was not complete enough you will be asked to elaborate. Don’t worry about the silences, just let them sit. Sometimes the interviewer is digesting information or trying to formulate the next question. Sometimes you are being tested. Silence is golden!
You have no faults
Your Behaviour: You are asked for your weaknesses, and you come up blank. This is a traditional question and is often asked.
What the interviewer feels: This person’s faults are so big he/she doesn’t dare mention them or this person thinks they are perfect. Neither is a winning scenario
Solve the issue: Simply be honest. Think about it during your preparation. If you are having trouble here’s a hint: often our biggest strengths turn into our weaknesses – depending on the situation, they tend to get taken to the negative extreme. State your weakness, give examples as to why it is a true weakness, and not a hidden strength you are trying to sneak in, and leave it at that. Nobody is perfect, not you, and not the person sitting in front of you.
When interviewing for a new position, it is normal to come across roles that simply are not suited to you. But if you are left feeling like you don’t understand why you were not chosen despite the fact that the role did seem to be a match, hopefully, this list can provide some hints.
This article is an extract from the article “6 common interview pitfalls” that you can access here if you would like to read the full version.
All the best of luck!