Salimah Jones APRN, FNP-C
You’ve spent countless hours searching for the perfect opportunity, submitted hundreds of applications, and waited weeks or maybe even months for that phone call letting you know that an organization is finally interested in you. After all of your efforts you want to perform well on your job interview. Most people know that you should prepare for job interviews beforehand, but many lack the knowledge of what this preparation should really consist of. After ten years of working in the healthcare industry with many years in management, I have conducted or been involved in numerous job interviews throughout my career. These experiences have allowed me to acquire first-hand knowledge of what companies look for when interviewing their candidates. In this post I will share five job interview mistakes that could ruin your chances of landing any job.
#1 Showing up without a printed copy of your resume
We all know that it is a digital world, but some things are just more practical the old-fashioned way. Having a printed copy of your resume shows your interviewer that you are well-prepared and respectful of their time. You should never assume that the interviewer already has a copy of the resume you submitted earlier. These are busy professionals who have a lot of responsibilities. Some interviewers may even use this as a test to measure how responsible you are.
#2 Revealing the wrong weaknesses
Everyone has heard the question “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” This is a tricky question that should be carefully thought through so that a well-crafted answer can be given. You never want to present a weakness that the interviewer may see as a detriment to the job or the company. One of the worst responses to this question I’ve heard is “I work at a slow pace because I want things to be done right.” Sure, the fact that the candidate is concerned with accuracy is a positive thing, but employers want their workers to be quick and accurate. This is the ultimate recipe for productivity. An example of a better weakness is “I have very high expectations of myself as an employee, but because of this, I can sometimes be critical of others. I am actively taking steps to improve in this area by trying to understand that everyone has different ways that they approach their work.”
#3 Discussing negative past employment experiences
Another common interview question is “why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your last job?” One of the worst responses I’ve heard to this question is “I left because I refused an unfair work assignment.” Although this individual may have been in the right, refusing a work assignment raises red flags and makes the candidate appear as if he or she is not a team player. You are better off saying something like, “I am looking for an opportunity where I can better utilize my skills” or “this job is a closer match for my career goals.”
#4 Displaying a lack of confidence in responses
No matter how many interviews you have been on you should practice discussing your background several times before your actual appointment. It helps to have a few “go to” scenarios from past positions that showcase your ability to problem solve, think critically, multitask, and prioritize. Having these scenarios on hand will allow you to give examples that will fit into practically any common interview question. When a candidate cannot produce answers to the questions they are asked relatively quickly and deliver the response confidently, this can make the interviewer draw the conclusion that he or she lacks the skills necessary for the job.
#5 Oversharing future ambitions
It’s great to have future career goals, but if those goals don’t include a career with the company you are interviewing with, you may want to avoid sharing them during your interview. Not only is it very expensive to hire new employees, but the training process is also quite time consuming. No manager wants to spend this degree of time and money on a person who is just using the job as a stepping stone. A common question that an interviewer may ask to obtain this information from the candidate is “tell me where you see yourself in five years or ten years?” If you get this question a good response is “I see myself in a leadership role in this industry and I’d be open to any new opportunities presented.
Don’t ruin your next job interview by being unprepared. Avoid these five common mistakes, maintain a positive attitude, and practice, practice, practice! You will increase your self-confidence and will be more likely to get the job!
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About the Author
Hi I’m Salimah Jones, Family Nurse Practitioner, bestselling author, and expert nursing career consultant. I am the Founder of The Nursing Guide, an online support community dedicated to helping aspiring and current nurses achieve their professional goals. I provide practical solutions to solve problems with finances, learning difficulties, motivation, work-life-balance, and lack of a strong social support system. My mission is to provide you with the tools to conquer any challenge so that you can become your own success story. Please subscribe to this blog and don’t forget to sign up for your free membership on The Nursing Guide Website.
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