5 Job Interview Traps to Avoid

September 12th, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing, Job Search | No Comments »

interview traps

Job interview traps are quite easy to stumble upon and fall into. When your nerves kick in during stressful situations you leave yourself susceptible to giving away information or fumbling when it matters most. Some traps exist as a fundamental part of job interviews – not being prepared is one of the most dangerous – while others are set by hiring managers to test your ability to act and react under distress.

Learning to identify and disarm job interview traps will help you succeed in any situation. You just have to learn to refine your internal alarm system so that the next time you come across a job interview trap your inner Admiral Ackbar will immediately shout, “It’s a trap!”

The following are examples of some of the more deadly job interview traps that are easy to fall into:

The cool interviewer

You step into the interview, and instead of being greeted by the stern face of a business executive, you meet a friendly hiring manager who butters you up with small talk about sports or any number of topics. The important thing to remember is that the interviewer is not your friend. Now, this is not to say that he or she is evil and not to be trusted but getting too comfortable with the hiring manager is the worst trap you can fall into.

You want to remain professional: not too rigid but not too loose either. Buddying up to the hiring manager is the easiest way to relax. It is also the easiest way to say something you may regret after the interview.

You must not show weakness

Many people go into the interview with their guard up, which makes you seem unfriendly. Worst of all, many job hunters believe that showing any type of weakness means ceding all prospects of getting the job. Hence the famous question, “What are your weaknesses?”

The trap here is refusing to admit that you are anything short of perfect. You can let your guard down and show that you have weaknesses. The best way to handle this is to show what you have learned from your past and how you are working to become a better person.

Talking too much

One of the most common job interview traps you may fall into is attempting to fill the void of silence that often occurs after you have finished speaking. The hiring manager says nothing and may even engage you in a staring contest. The trick here is not to break the silence and over explain yourself. If the silence persists, respond by asking if there is anything that he or she wants you to clear up. Otherwise, keep your answer clear and concise, not long and cumbersome.

Answering the questions

It may sound like a strange bit of advice but simply answering the hiring manager’s questions is a trap in and of itself. A job interview is no more than a conversation between two professionals in the business. Do not close yourself off by treating the interview like an interrogation. You should always respond with questions of your own throughout the interview. Not only does it make your seem more engaged but it can take some of the heat of you while the hiring manager dishes out the details of the company.

Know thyself

Everyone knows to research the company before heading off to the interview, but many people fall into the trap of not doing any research on themselves. What are your goals? What can you do for this company? Why do you want to work here? These are all common questions that will come up during most interviews. You should be prepared to talk in-depth about yourself. Not just sound off on what you know about the company and the industry.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of nicubunu.photo via Flickr