The idea of making a mistake during a job interview strikes fear in the hearts of many job seekers. However, there are a few mistakes employers can easily overlook as long as you handle them well. The following interview mistakes don't necessarily mean the interview was a bust.
Running late for the interview is not the best behavior, but you can still impress the interviewer with the way you handle it. Just be sure to call ahead and explain the situation; let the employer know there was an accident on the highway, you're sitting in traffic, got lost or whatever the situation happens to be. The interviewer will appreciate you gave him the heads up, and may even appreciate the few extra moments to prepare for your meeting. Whatever you do, don't just show up late without an excuse. It appears careless and very unprofessional.
Asking Too Many Questions
“You need to ask questions. This is your right as a candidate! You’re interviewing the employer just as much as they’re interviewing you,” says Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster. The hiring manager is expecting you to ask plenty of questions so don't be shy. This is your chance to get to know the organization and see if it's truly a great fit. Just make sure your questions aren't basic inquiries that can be answered with a Google search.
Drawing a Blank
Even if you rehearsed dozens of questions prior to the interview, it still won't completely prevent a moment of awkwardness when you're caught off-guard by the interviewer. This is perfectly fine, and to be expected. After all, you're only human. If you find yourself drawing a complete blank, don't try to speak ahead of your brain just to fill the silence. Pause for a few seconds to gather your thoughts, smile, and ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you need a little more time.
Revealing a True Weakness
"Tell me about your greatest weakness" is a common interview question that is tricky to answer. Many candidates mistakenly believe they can make themselves look better by giving a strength disguised as a weakness, such as "I'm a workaholic" or "I'm too detail-oriented." Hiring managers see right through these types of answers. What they really want from you is evidence of self-awareness, so don't be afraid to discuss a real weakness you're working through. Make sure to talk about the steps you've taken to correct it, and you'll come across as authentic and self-aware.
Making a mistake during the interview is not always a complete deal-breaker; it all depends on your recovery and ability to bounce back from it gracefully. Prepare for the interview well ahead of time, and don't beat yourself up for a less-than-perfect performance.
Photo courtesy of bm_adverts at Flickr.com