When it comes to fear-inducing situations, job interviews are right up there with public speaking and first dates.
In fact, a recent survey found that 92% of people feel interview anxiety, citing doubt over their qualifications, whether they’d be able to answer questions correctly—and even if they’d make it to the meeting on time.
Frankly, this stat should come as no surprise. After all, you’re trying to build rapport with strangers in an unfamiliar place, you’re being put on the spot—and there’s a lot at stake from this one encounter.
But in order to really rock that interview, you’ve got to push the fear aside and boost your confidence.
And the way to accomplish that is to make sure you know not only what you should say and do—but also all the ways that you could sabotage yourself.
To clue you in on some of the potential pitfalls of the interviewing process, we asked people to fess up to their biggest blunders and subsequent lessons learned, so you won’t fall victim to the same snafus.
Interview Mistake #1: Dressing for the Part—but Not the Culture
“I had just graduated and was interviewing for an analyst position at a small financial firm. I was dressed in a black skirt suit and I was carrying a black briefcase. It was my only nice, professional outfit, so I wore it to all of my interviews.
Lo and behold, my interviewer was wearing cutoff shorts and a T-shirt. Even though it was a corporate job, I realized that I should have looked into the company’s dress code. In the middle of the interview, the hiring manager even told me that I seemed too ’professional’ for the position and that my qualifications were too high.
I believe he came to that conclusion because I was dressed ‘incorrectly.’ That taught me to drive by an office a few days prior to an interview to see what people who are walking in and out of the building are wearing.”
—Michelle Schroeder, 25, content manager, St. Louis