6 (Avoidable) Job Interview Mistakes

FEBRUARY 03, 2018
Like the fear of heights and public speaking, the fear of job interviews crosses generations and industries.

About 92% of adults report feeling anxious about some aspect of the interview process, mainly because so much is riding on one interview experience.

Couple that pressure with the competition in the pharmacy industry: In 2017, of the 6027 students who participated in the residency match, just 4132 were successfully matched with a residency. With a match rate of 69%, it is clear why 1 mistake in a job interview can feel like a fatal flaw.

A friend shared the story of a hospital in a Texas suburb seeking to fill a single clinical pharmacy position. More than 90 people applied, and fewer than 10 were invited to interview.

In a competitive field such as pharmacy, it is vital to make the most of every interview and avoid making unnecessary mistakes in the process.

Hiring managers report these as the top mistakes that interviewees make during the interview process:

1. Failing to be oneself. Pretending to be some perfect version of oneself during an interview will certainly fall flat.

The results of 1 study in the Journal of Business and Psychology showed that anxiety is such a crucial factor during interviews that people tend to talk more slowly and  to the interviewer. The answer, according to the study, is to focus on being warm and friendly to combat the effects of anxiety.

Striving to answer every question perfectly and to appear void of weakness will likely sound manufactured and stiff. If, on the other hand, interviewees accept that they may not always have a perfect answer but strive to be who they truly are hiring managers will learn a lot more.

A single interview is not much time to convey who a person really is, especially for those who are trying to appear superhuman. Typically, experienced interviewers recognize inauthentic behavior, and that deception will hurt their perceptions of. 

2. Arriving unprepared. Preparing for an interview will not make one sound scripted and robotic. Failing to prepare for an interview could, however, make the interviewee seem uninterested and uncommitted.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, confided that his jokes often take months, even years, to hone to perfection. The irony, of course, is that intense preparation beforehand makes the presentation seem effortless.  
Those who prepare for an interview the right way, will sound natural. They are prepared to give appropriate answers without divulging irrelevant information and will likely sound effortless.

3. Talking too much. Sometimes, our anxiety prompts us to fill the silence. We lull ourselves into thinking that the more we talk, the better our answers will be.

In the case of a job interview, less is more. The ability to give succinct answers will leave time for the interviewer to ask relevant follow-on questions.
 

4. Appearing distracted. Nervousness can cause people to fidget. Anxiety can cause people to divert their eyes from the person across the table or to nervously readjust clothing over and over.

Those who allow themselves to be distracted during job interviews, will find that their fidgeting will likely also distract the interviewer.

Avoid allowing nervous energy to dominate the interview. It makes a poor first impression, and looks like a lack of focus.

5. Succumbing to anxiety. Excitement and fear are more alike than we might think.

Imagine waiting in line to ride a roller-coaster. There is a feeling of both excitement and fear. What is the primary difference? The thought process that goes along with it.

Fear causes us to figuratively hold our breath. We are not sure of the future, so we try to contain the uncertainty. As we hold it in, that fear grows, and a vicious cycle emerges.

Do not give in to feelings of anxiety. Unleash them. Figure out a way to release the anxiety and turn it into excitement.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to engage in simple exercise. It does not have to be complicated, and it certainly should not make the interviewee sweat, but it should be just enough to help get rid of the jitters.

6. Neglecting research. Never leave a job interview without asking questions. In fact, there should be tons of questions.

Asking well-thought-out questions is the simplest way to stand out among the potential candidates. It demonstrates interest in the job, whereas failing to ask questions may make an interviewee seem less serious or invested.

Research the company so that it is easy to ask questions about the responsibilities of the job or the specifics of the company. 

How to Avoid These Mistakes
Very often, fear results from a perceived lack of control. When we do not know what the future holds, our emotions take over.

It stands to reason, then, that when we are in control of a situation, we are less likely to fall victim to fear and anxiety.

Take control of the interview process by having all the tools to be competitive and by learning what it looks like to deliver a great interview.

We designed our Interview Mastery course to address all the fears and unknowns associated with job interviews and to prepare job seekers to land positions.

Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.
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