Five Real Interview Blunders to Avoid
When preparing for job interviews, new graduates often focus on technique and presentation—How firmly should I shake the interviewer’s hand?—How many questions should I ask?—How can I word my sentence perfectly to sound more intelligent? While these are all important questions, focusing on these aspects too much can distract you from the most important thing: using common sense.
Below are five blunders from real job interviews,* and the lessons that job seekers should take away from the candidate’s mistake.
Question: “Tell me about a time when you had to defuse a conflict at work.”
Response: The interviewee had a good start, but then started rambling about the conflict and didn’t delve into a solution. In response, the interviewer interrupted him to ask a follow-up question to get him back on track. However, the interviewee then interrupted the interviewer and said “I’m not done!” and continued to describe the conflict, failing to answer the question.
Lesson: NEVER interrupt the interviewer! Not only are you being disrespectful, but you are only hurting yourself. If the interviewer interrupts you, they are most likely doing it for your benefit. Even if you feel that you didn’t fully answer the question, it’s better to let it go so you don’t crash-land yourself into the “Do Not Hire” pile.
Question: “Tell me about a time you solved a tough problem. How did you go about it?”
Response: The interviewee told an elaborate story about how he went about buying alcohol for his fraternity—while he was underage.
Lesson: In general, it’s not a smart idea to tell your interviewer about your personal life, especially when it involves illegal activity. Revealing those details makes a potential employer wonder how serious you are about your career, and if you are reliable enough to show up on Monday without a hangover. So lesson number two is to always show good judgment and keep your private life private.
Question: For new graduates, the interviewer will often ask “behavioral” questions. These questions are not about a “right” answer, but to find out how you would think through and tackle realistic problems.
Response: Interviewees will often start talking the moment the interviewer is done asking the question, often speaking without knowing where their train of thought is headed. This creates incoherent and incomplete answers.
Lesson: Give yourself enough time to gather your thoughts before jumping into an answer. Interviewers will often tell you to take your time, but students let their mouths run before their brains even hear the starting gun. Prove to the interviewer that you can think through a problem logically and take your time answering the questions.
Question: “How would you handle a situation where your boss assigns you more work than you feel you can handle?”
Response: The two most popular answers to these questions: “I would ask my boss to give some of it to other people.” OR “I would work more hours.”
Lesson: When is it ever possible to ask for less work? You could never go to your professors and ask them to cancel an assignment because you can’t handle it, so it’s not acceptable in the business world either. Working more hours may seem like a viable option, but you can’t muster that energy with every project. The interviewer is looking for you to be creative and show initiative. Explain how you would determine your priorities and organize your time in that situation.
Question: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Response: “What is your main product?”
Lesson: Asking any general questions about the job or the company shows that you haven’t done your research, which means that you are not actually interested in the position. If you ask a question that can be answered by doing a simple web search, you might as well shred your resume. Do your research and prepare questions beforehand!
*All of these real interview blunders are from an anonymous employee in a Fortune 500 company’s Human Resources department.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
Discuss This Article
More Uloop Campus Life Articles
Recent Mount Holyoke News Articles
RECENT MOUNT HOLYOKE CLASSIFIEDS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
TOP MOUNT HOLYOKE NEWS
- What I Discovered When I Deleted My Social Media
- Torture in CA Jails: New Wins, New Struggles
- Is Having A Pet In College The Right Decision For You?
- Game of Thrones: Bran, Hodor, and the Problem of Power
- Most Common Problems You'll Run Into With Your College Roommate(s)
- The Definition Of "Republican" Is Changing
- 6 Healthy Foods To Help Improve Your Scores On Finals
MOST POPULAR MOUNT HOLYOKE NEWS
BROWSE OTHER COLLEGES
- By CollegeBoston CollegeBoston UniversityBrandeis UniversityHarvard UniversityUniversity of Massachusetts-AmherstMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyNortheastern UniversityTufts UniversityClark UniversityUniversity of Massachusetts-LowellUniversity of Massachusetts-BostonWorcester State CollegeBentley CollegeWheaton CollegeMount Holyoke CollegeLesley UniversityHolyoke Community CollegeHampshire CollegeSuffolk UniversityWestfield State CollegeUniversity of Massachusetts DartmouthWilliams CollegeAmerican International CollegeAmherst CollegeAnna Maria CollegeAssumption CollegeBabson CollegeBay Path CollegeBecker CollegeBerklee College of MusicBoston Architectural CollegeBridgewater State CollegeCambridge CollegeElms CollegeCollege of the Holy CrossCurry CollegeDean CollegeEastern Nazarene CollegeEmerson CollegeEmmanuel CollegeEndicott CollegeFisher CollegeFitchburg State CollegeFramingham State CollegeGordon CollegeGordon-Conwell Theological SeminaryLasell CollegeMassachusetts College of Art and DesignMassachusetts College of Liberal ArtsMassachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health ScienceMassachusetts Maritime AcademyMerrimack CollegeMount Ida CollegeNew England School of LawNewbury CollegeNichols CollegeRegis CollegeSalem State CollegeSimmons CollegeSmith CollegeSpringfield CollegeStonehill CollegeThe New England Institute of ArtUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School WorcesterWellesley CollegeWentworth Institute of TechnologyWestern New England CollegeWestfield State CollegeWheelock CollegeWorcester Polytechnic InstituteAndover Newton Theological SchoolBenjamin Franklin Institute of TechnologyBerkshire Community College Bristol Community College Bunker Hill Community College Cape Cod Community CollegeGreenfield Community College Massachusetts Bay Community CollegeMassasoit Community College Middlesex Community College (MA)Mount Wachusett Community CollegeNorth Shore Community College Northern Essex Community CollegeQuinsigamond Community College Springfield Technical Community CollegeAilano School of CosmetologyAlexander AcademyAssabet Valley Regional Technical SchoolBancroft School of Massage TherapyBay State School of TechnologyBentley UniversityBlackstone Valley Vocational Regional School DistrictBlue Hills Regional Technical SchoolBoston Baptist CollegeBoston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis IncBranford Hall Career Institute-Springfield CampusCatherine Hinds Institute of EstheticsCharles H McCann Technical SchoolConway School of Landscape DesignCortiva Institute-BostonDiGrigoli School of CosmetologyDiman Regional Technical InstituteEINE IncEmpire Beauty School-BostonEmpire Beauty School-FraminghamEmpire Beauty School-HyannisEmpire Beauty School-LowellEmpire Beauty School-MaldenEpiscopal Divinity SchoolEverest Institute-BrightonEverest Institute-ChelseaFINE Mortuary CollegeFranklin W Olin College of EngineeringGreater Lowell Technical SchoolHallmark Institute of PhotographyHellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of TheologyHenris School of Hair DesignHult International Business SchoolITT Technical Institute-NorwoodITT Technical Institute-WilmingtonJolie Hair and Beauty Academy-LudlowJupiter Beauty AcademyLa Baron Hairdressing Academy-BrocktonLa Baron Hairdressing Academy-New BedfordLe Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-CambridgeLincoln Technical Institute-BrocktonLincoln Technical Institute-SomervilleLowell Academy Hairstyling InstituteMansfield Beauty Schools-QuincyMansfield Beauty Schools-SpringfieldMarinello School of Beauty-NorthamptonMassachusetts General Hospital Dietetic InternshipMassachusetts School of LawMedical Professional InstituteMGH Institute of Health ProfessionsMildred Elley-Pittsfield CampusMillennium Training InstituteMontserrat College of ArtMotoring Technical Training InstituteNational Aviation Academy of New EnglandNational Graduate School of Quality ManagementNew England College of Business and FinanceNew England School of AcupunctureNew England Tractor Trailer Training School of MassachusettsNorth Bennet Street SchoolNorthpoint Bible CollegePope St John XXIII National SeminaryPorter and Chester Institute of CantonPorter and Chester Institute of ChicopeePorter and Chester Institute of WestboroughPorter and Chester Institute of WoburnPortfolio Center - WalthamRob Roy Academy-Fall RiverRob Roy Academy-TauntonSalter College-ChicopeeSalter College-West BoylstonSalter School-New BedfordSchool of the Museum of Fine Arts-BostonShawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical SchoolSignature Healthcare Brockton Hospital School of NursingSoutheastern Technical InstituteSouthern Worcester County Regional Voc School DistrictSpa Tech Institute-IpswichSpa Tech Institute-PlymouthThe New England Conservatory of MusicToni & Guy Hairdressing Academy-WorcesterUniversity of Phoenix-MassachusettsUrban College of Boston
- By State
- By City