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Read an excerpt from Change One Thing

    Common Interview Mistakes

    The following is a list of gaffes that people frequently make before, during, and after an interview. Avoiding these self-sabotaging mistakes will help you to get that job you want:

    Being unprepared. Not doing your homework about the company you are interviewing with before an interview is grounds for instant elimination as a candidate.

    Quick-fix change: Most companies have websites, so it takes little time or effort to do research. If you don’t own a computer, use one at your local library. If there are trade magazines or blogs  for the industry you are interested in, read some of the latest issues to get the most up-to-date information about what’s going on in the field.  You can use the articles or posts  for one of the questions you ask the interviewer or as as a topic of conversation. For example, you might say, “I just read in Medical Marketing News that the FDA is close to approving one of the drugs your company is pitching. Do you have a full team working on that account?”

    Not knowing why you are a good candidate for the job. One of the first questions you will be asked, after the interviewer goes over your résumé, is why do you think you are the right person for the job.

    Quick-fix change:  Practice your answer to this question before you go on the interview. If you can, come up wit three reasons why you are the best candidate for the job.

    Nervousness. Nearly everyone feels anxious during interviews, so a bit of nerves is expected. But having a bad case of the jitters can trip you up during interviews by making you stutter or blank out when asked a question, or by giving you sweaty palms or shaky hands.

    Quick-fix change: If you get the flop sweats at interviews, make sure to wear a jacket or blazer to cover your perscpiration. You should also arrive extra early so you have time to go to the rest room and compose yourself. Go into a stall, and take five deep breaths to slow down your heart and racing mind. Do not drink caffeine before the interview; it will worsen the shakes and stutters. One technique I use when nervous is to do a silent scream in a rest room stall. Pretned you are underwater, and let out the tension without making a sound. It works for me!

    Monopolizing the conversation. While the interviewer is eager to hear your thoughts, be careful not to interrupt too often or monopolize the conversation.

    Quick-fix change: Allowing the other person time to speak not only is respectful, but also will give you time to think about what you are going to say next. In addition, it provides fodder for questions about the position  you are interested in. It’s OK to pause once in a while and let your words sink in.


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