The interview process is a crucial stage in the hiring process, one capable of inducing nervousness or anxiety in many candidates. Some job candidates make subtle mistakes during interviews that dissuade the committee from choosing them as their top candidate. Here, we’ll talk about four common interview mistakes to avoid so that your interview builds your desirability, rather than hinders it.

1. Don’t: Describe yourself in clichés.

You only get so many chances to describe yourself and your experience, so don’t waste it by using hackneyed language or expressions. Never say you’re a “team player” or a “people person”; think how many other candidates describe themselves in these ways!

Do: Be specific, and describe experiences whenever possible.

When answering questions that ask you to speak about your skills, always include a follow-up example of an experience. Also, be specific by using numbers and figures to support your examples whenever possible.

2. Don’t: Throw your current colleagues under the bus.

One of the most common interview questions asks you to describe a conflict with a colleague. Don’t choose an instance in which you suggest that your colleague – or even your boss – did something terrible and you did nothing wrong.

Do: Demonstrate your own growth.  

Instead, choose an experience in which both parties – you and the other person – had valid arguments. Then, describe a resolution that demonstrates that you can listen to and respect your coworkers.

3. Don’t: Spend too much time demonstrating your fit for one part of the position.

Many times, candidates spend too much time shaping their answers to fit one skill set required by the position. However, focusing on only one part of the job is risky; it may not even be the most important responsibility to the hiring committee.

Do: Show how you’re well-rounded enough to complete all of the position’s tasks.

Before your interview, consider the many ways you demonstrate all of the skills and experience required by the position. If you find that you have not spoken about a certain skill in full capacity, tailor your next answer accordingly.

4. Don’t: Show too much interest in what the company will give you.

When asked by interviewers if they have questions, some candidates mistakenly ask about salary and benefits. In early interviews, don’t spend time focusing on these things; you’ll give off the impression that you’re too good to miss, which is not a stellar attitude for a new hire.

Do: Demonstrate what you can bring to the company.

Instead, woo the company with your skills; don’t ask them to woo you. Ask questions that demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the company, questions focused on company culture and expectations for their ideal hire.

The interview can be a particularly nerve-wracking part of the hiring process. Career Moves can help you prepare outstanding answers to any questions you might face in your job interview and offer you feedback on your answers. We’ve helped 450 accounting and finance professionals find their ideal positions, and our proven experience can help you succeed, too.

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