If you’re terrified of any (or every) aspect of interviewing, you are not alone. Having to talk up oneself can be a daunting, and sometimes awkward task. But have no fear, the Practice Interview Team is here! Going into my 3rd year of giving mock interviews, I’ve noticed some common mistakes. Here are the top 4 recurring errors, and how to work to improve them.
- Getting too personal
Avoid bringing your life outside of the professional sphere into the interview room. If your interviewer asks about a time you utilized conflict resolution skills, talking about a territory battle between you and your roommate isn’t the best example. There will be times when mentioning a family dynamic or struggle (i.e. illness) will play some relevance to what you are applying for, however that is an exception and shouldn’t be the focus of your answer. Your experiences and skills should always be the main point of an answer!
- Not marketing oneself enough
This is your time to shamelessly brag— do so! The employer needs to be sold on your ability to be an asset to their team. It can be strange to blatantly state your skills to someone, and that’s why it’s important to know what skills you can bring to a company, and PRACTICE your interview answers!
- Not researching the company/industry
There’s a good chance an interview question will be “Why do you want to work for our company?” or some derivative of that. This is where your knowledge of the school/company should come out. Read the mission statement, see if the company has been in the news recently, and check if they have any philanthropic affiliations. Explain to the interviewer how their company is the best fit for you, and bring in concrete examples!
- Giving generic answers
Avoid saying “I love helping people!” as a reason for applying to medical school, or “I love kids!” for why you want to someday become a teacher. The best way to have a unique answer that stands out is by telling a story. Give a specific example of a time when you helped someone while you were volunteering at a hospital and how that made you want to become a doctor. If you want to be a teacher, talk about a time when you were tutoring a student and what strategies and tools you used to ensure the student eventually understood the topic. If your answer can be duplicated by another person, (“Working with people has always been my dream!) then you’re not being specific enough.
I hope this helped out, and sign up for a Practice Interview in Wilbur Cross 202!
– Linette Duluc