7 Things to Avoid in a Job Interview

Failing to prepare for the easy questions and shorting a previous job are two common mistakes.

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Michael Wade
1. Excessive use of "I." When it's "I" this and "I" that, the interviewers may wonder if you ever worked on a team and, if so, how much credit you gave to your colleagues. Conversely, if you never mention the advances you were able to achieve, they may fear that you are team-dependent. Seek a balance.

2. Getting lost in the weeds. Far too many applicants prepare for the complicated questions and then fall into a blank stare when asked basic ones, such as "Why do you want this job?" and "Why should we hire you?"

3. Injecting verbal distractions. Excessive use of certain terms or expressions will distract from your message. Avoid the word "basically." "The bottom line" should also be buried.

4. Downplaying your past jobs. All work that is ethical is noble. A person who takes pride in a ditch-digging job is likely to carry that attitude into other jobs.

5. Using unknown jargon. If the interview panel is familiar with certain professional terms, their use will not be a barrier. But you should otherwise avoid jargon. Sports, computer, and military terminology also can cause confusion.

6. Slighting an interviewer. Make sure that your eye contact and responses cover the entire group. The interviewer who asks the fewest questions might be the one who makes the selection decision.

7. Listening only for what is said, not for what is meant. Give your interviewers the compliment of your full attention. Strive to sense the circumstances implied by their questions.

Michael Wade writes Execupundit.com, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.