CAREERS BLOG: Interview no-nos

UoY Careers Imagine the possibilities LARGE dark green Careers blog written by Irena Zientek, Information Resources Manager, Careers

Following on from our recent Application no-nos blog, here are some things to avoid in job interviews…

“It’s too nerve-wracking”

There’s a lot of helpful advice on how to prepare for interviews, as well as useful techniques to overcome the nerves. Check out the resources on the How to prepare for interviews information sheet.

Thorough preparation will help calm those nerves, so make sure you re-read your application, the job description, and the research about the company, which you did for your application. Looking at examples of typical interview questions and information on different types of interview will also help.

“It shouldn’t matter what I look like, if I’ve got the talent”

While this is true, why leave things to chance? A smart, tidy appearance and firm handshake spells professionalism to most employers. Avoid slang, street talk, buzz words and sloppy diction.

Also, switch off that phone! You can live without it for the duration of an interview and give direct 100% attention to the interviewer.

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?”

Don’t assume the interviewer knows everything about you because of your original application. Explain things and put your experiences and skills into context – use the CAR model (Context, Action, Result) to help structure your answers. Be explicit and tell them what experience you’ve had and illustrate your skills with examples from actual activities and experiences.

Explain acronyms the interviewer might not know (eg YSIS – York Students in Schools, YUSU – York University Students’ Union).

“I’ll sound like a big-head”

You don’t want to appear arrogant– but you shouldn’t be afraid of showing the interviewer what you’ve done and achieved. Be confident in your abilities.

If talking about group or team work, don’t just talk about “we” – show what you personally did, but don’t exaggerate or lay claim to other’s ideas and achievements.

“I know better”

It’s a fine line between expecting an interviewer to know everything and assuming they know nothing. Don’t assume, for example, that because the interviewer looks older, he or she knows little about social media. Don’t patronise.

Ask the interviewer whether they need anything clarifying or explaining, if you’ve talked about something that’s not crystal clear.

“This is a serious matter”

Job interviews should certainly be taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t smile (particularly when you first meet the interviewer). Show your enthusiasm and commitment for the role.

Let’s face it, there’s lots to think about before, during and after an interview – lots of things to remember to do and say. The two most important things to bear in mind are:

  1. make sure you prepare thoroughly
  2. be yourself.

Good luck!