5 Mistakes you should avoid during a job interview
From the course:
Ultimate Job Interview Masterclass: Secret sauce, Practical guideline and a Powerful framework
Today, we will see 5 mistakes that we make during an interview, and we should avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Non-convincing “Tell me about yourself”
When we start a job interview, first, the interviewer will ask you, “Tell me about yourself.” Most people just tell their name, where they studied, and so on. But it’s a complete mistake if you only tell your name and where you studied. You should tell it in a way so that it matches with the job description. You should tell about yourself in a way so that the interviewer will think, “This is the right match for us. We’re looking for this candidate”.
You should show your competency in the tell me about yourself part, so you should tell it so that it matches the job description. You can also mention some other qualities or qualifications which are not mentioned in the job description. For example, suppose you were being interviewed for a Java developer position. In that case, you can also mention that you know Android development. When you tell them about more qualities not mentioned in the job description, it will give you more competence and more edge because the interviewer will think, “This guy knows Java, and also he knows Android. If we have some future Android project, he’ll be very handy.” So you can mention some other qualifications which are not mentioned in the job description. For example, if you can write some blogs, if you have experience, you can mention that. Then the interviewer will think that this person can also work, and he can also write some blogs that will help us with marketing, for example. As I said before, these qualifications make you more competitive.
Mistake # 2: Not knowing about the product of the company
Your interviewer might ask you, “What do you know about us? What do you know about our product, or what do you know about the company?”
In that case, you should be able to say one or two sentences about their business or about their product.
So how can you prepare for that?
- Go to their website and read their home page. On the homepage, most of the time, you can find what they do.
- Read their “About Us” page and note down one or two product names.
- If you can just tell one or two lines about the company and the product, that’s enough.
- You don’t have to waste a lot of time preparing for this.
Mistake #3: Not asking clarifying questions before solving a problem
During the interview, the interviewer can ask you, “How will you solve this problem? How do you solve that problem?” If they give you some problems, you should ask clarification questions. For example, if they asked, “How will you sell this pen?” Maybe you’re interviewing for a marketing or sales position, and they ask you, “How will you sell a pen?” In that case, don’t directly tell them that “I will do just marketing.” First, ask them, “Who is your target group? Is this pen a gel pen, or is it a normal ballpoint pen? Are you in the initial investment stage, and you don’t mind losing some money, or you’re already established in the market?” Ask some clarifying questions, then you can plan a marketing strategy.
For example, if you go for a software engineering interview, they ask you, “How will you add two numbers?” Don’t just take two integers and add the numbers. Ask them, “How big could the numbers be?” Based on that, you will know what to do, and you can ask further questions. “Are these integers or big integers or decimal points and so on?”
The danger of solving the wrong problem if you don’t ask clarifying questions
Ask clarifying questions because if you don’t ask any questions, they will think that if we hire this person and there is a problem, he will jump to solve it straightway or finish the task. He will not think right and left. That’s not very good. When you try to solve that problem in real life, you have to collect all the facts at first. First, clarify the problem. Then try to solve the problem. If you cannot clarify the problem, you might be solving a wrong problem or a problem that you’ve not been asked to solve. That will cost a lot of money. That will waste a lot of time. So before solving a problem, you have to clarify what the actual problem is. And you have to think about different solutions. So you must ask clarifying questions.
Mistake #4: Not using “I” while describing what you did in a project.
For example, you can use “we” in an interview to describe something you alone did not make. If you work in a team, you can use, “We did that.” That’s fine. The problem is, many people use “we” to be polite. Even if they did something exclusively, they say, “We did that. My team did that.” But in that case, the interviewer doesn’t get a clear picture about yourself, what you are capable of or where your strength is. But it’s also very important for the interviewer to know your strengths and what you can do.
So you should tell them, “I did that. I know about this part.” Show your competence. One important thing is, to be honest. Don’t say something which you did not do. In a big project, you’d never do everything alone. If you do everything alone, there is no point in having a team. So something your teammates did, something you did, you specify that “I did that. I was in this position. My responsibility was that.” For example, I can tell that, “I was a software engineer. My responsibility was in the backend development. I have implemented a lot of microservices, fixed a lot of bugs. I did a lot of hot fixes, did the deployment. I worked in operations, monitoring and logging.” So I’ll say what I really did so that the interviewer can understand what I’m capable of.
Mistake #5: Not discussing when you were challenged in an interview
Now, let’s take a look at mistake number five. That is, not discussing when you were challenged in an interview. For example, you solved a problem in a way, and the interviewer may ask you why you solved it this way? You could have solved it in another way more efficiently, or the other way could have been more efficient. Why did you choose this solution, which is not efficient? If they challenge you in the interview, don’t humiliate yourself. Don’t say, “Yeah, you’re right. I was wrong. I don’t have that knowledge.” Don’t humiliate yourself. If you don’t know something, you can just say, “Sorry, I was not aware of that. I don’t know that.” That’s pretty fine. If they challenge any of your solutions or approach, then you accept by saying, “You’re right. There are many other ways to do the task.” Then state why you solved the problem in that way. You give the reason behind your decision. What was your thought process? Just give the reasons behind that. For example, maybe you developed software that only a few people can use simultaneously. If 100 people try to use it simultaneously, then the software will crash. If I choose a design like that, I’ll say, “Look. My customer wanted to go very fast in the market; they wanted to see if they could really have some users. I would have needed more time to make the software more scalable so that hundreds of people could use it simultaneously. So, after finishing the software, if the customer goes to the market and says no one is using that, then the whole time and money are wasted. If they could find users of the product, we could come back later and ask to make it more scalable. That’s why we added enough quality and made a fast prototype to go fast into the market. That’s why the solution was like that.” All I mean is you should tell your thinking pattern and why you chose that solution.
So these are the five mistakes. Don’t make these mistakes during the interview.
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