Top 5 job interview mistakes

Top 5 job interview mistakes and how to fix them

July 23, 2019

So, you’re looking for a tech job. Let’s say you’re one of over 200,000 VanHackers from 150+ countries. You find your dream job. It’s your destiny. Well, maybe. Only if you don’t make one of the top job interview mistakes!

It can happen to any of us. But, it is our job to match a tech job candidate with an amazing company. We make sure they’ve got the coding skills. Years of experience. Practically fluent in English. The right attitude. We provide all the guidance and coaching we can, every step of the way. But we can’t be there when it comes time to actually doing the job interview with the company!

If you have had an interview go sideways, you can sometimes feel it right away. Candidates know it, even if the company doing the hiring doesn’t mention it. And usually, they also know exactly what they should have done! (Job interview questions always seem easier to manage with 20/20 hindsight.)

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Now, let’s look at some of the most common job interview mistakes job candidates make. Even better, let’s see how to avoid them!

Mistake #1. Giving answers that are too general

The interviewer is looking to hire an exceptional candidate. So, being too general is not helpful. Some candidates adopt this approach to try to minimize the risk of saying something dumb. Well, it’s a bad strategy.

So for you to stand out, give real examples of events in your work experience. Detailed anecdotes that highlight your strengths.Talk about your specific skills and programming languages. Beyond that, talk about a positive outcome you’ve actually achieved after developing software or an app.

Mistake #2. Not paying attention to the job description

Let’s say that you’re asked about your biggest weakness. You respond that you are not very good in communication. You’re the kind of software developer who likes to focus deeply on a problem, hunker down over your laptop and churn out perfect code. The problem? This job actually requires good communication. You need to collaborate on a large team. 

Read that job description. Heck, read it a few times. Read between the lines, too. Make sure you know what they’re really asking for.

Mistake #3. Not learning about the company before the interview

Top 5 job interview mistakes

This can really hurt your chances when they ask “why do you want to work in this company?” So, what do you like about them? Their corporate culture? Convenient location? Brand-name recognition? Leadership? If you fall back to talking about yourself and your own goals, you’ve failed to answer the question.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Read the company’s website. Find articles on Google News. Find out who the founder is. Check out their LinkedIn profile. Learn about the company’s culture, value and mission. Understand how the company works. Now, you can answer why any of these things mean something important to you.

Mistake #4. Giving off bad body language

Let’s say you are lying in bed with the laptop on your chest, doing an online interview over Skype. The interviewer can only see you from the chin up.

Frankly, you might look lazy. They might think you are not so interested in the job. A lot of communication is non-verbal.

Again, this is an easy fix. Sit down and position the camera so they can see you better. Be confident. Look natural. Because, let’s face it, you’re naturally awesome.

Mistake #5. Not understanding the interviewer’s true intent

Sometimes, interviewers are subtle. The  interviewer says “Tell me about yourself.” That’s a huge question!

Are they asking about your skills? Your current work situation? How you got into this career in the first place? It might be one, all three or none, depending on what they said before. 

Answer truthfully. Answer logically. And if you have any doubt as to whether you’ve answered the interviewer’s real question, there’s a simple solution: ask them. “Does that answer your question?” It’s better to make sure in the interview than wonder later if you really showed off your best self.

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