3 Little-Known Interview Blunders That’ll Cost You

by Sonja Bistranin ; Updated October 17, 2017

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You probably haven’t done anything as outrageous as this during a job interview, but chances are you have made a mistake that cost you the job. Often, interviewees are left wondering what went wrong when the offer doesn’t come after an interview.

Fortunately, many of the gaffes that interviewers shudder at are easily avoidable. Here are three.

Underrated Blunder #1: Making the interview all about you

Showing up and simply trying to “make it through the interview” is not a recipe for success, says Darrell Gurney, career coach and author of Never Apply for a Job Again. Nor is simply focusing on your personal strengths. In this economy, job seekers need to come in with ideas for improvement in the company and talk about how their strengths can benefit the company. “Go in from the point of view of presenting a value proposition,” says Gurney. “What you could bring, what specific ideas you have to improve things, what tasks you’d take off of their hands to make their life easier?”

Underrated Blunder #2: Neglecting to send a thank-you note

Remember those two magical words you were taught at age five to show gratitude? They’re still vitally important. Experts say it’s essential to send a follow-up thank-you note to an interviewer following the interview. “That note should show that you listened to her needs, challenges and concerns,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of_The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide_. “[And] that you have unique qualifications that enable you to address those important needs, challenges and concerns.” Cohen explains that following up establishes investment. “If you don’t follow up to demonstrate your interest, another, and perhaps, less qualified candidate will. That is how you level the competition.”

Underrated Blunder #3: Ignoring the conversational aspect

Both Cohen and Gurney agree that an interview is a conversation. Therefore, talking over your interviewer, interrupting, or failing to engage your interviewer are all deal breakers. “Today’s younger folks, adept at short and sweet texts and posts through social media…are not so savvy at being able to simply talk,” said Gurney. Face-to-face conversation requires body language that shows interest. Maintain eye contact, nod, and smile during an interview to avoid seeming robotic. Cohen adds that evaluating the tone and tempo of the interview can help, too. “An interview is essentially a conversation…not a debate and definitely not one-sided. Pay close attention to how you engage…is it a conversation or a lecture?” Let your interviewer finish the whole question before answering and keep your voice animated, but never raise your voice to get a point across.