Five Interview Mistakes That Make a Hiring Manager Say “No Thanks”

An interview is full of opportunities. The interview offers the chance to learn about a prospective employer, connect with hiring managers and supervisors, and dazzle the company with your skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

Hiring managers often have years of experience conducting interviews, and they can often tell when a mistake is simply the result of being nervous, tired, or temporarily “off your game.” They can also tell, however, when a mistake says something about your knowledge or work ethic – especially when it’s something they don’t want to hear.

Prepare for your next interview by recognizing and avoiding these five mistakes that make hiring managers say “No, thanks”:

1. Failing to Do Your Research

Hiring managers don’t ask candidates “What do you know about our company?” because they need a history or business lesson. They ask because they want to know whether you care about the position and the company enough to have learned about it.

When you have a working knowledge of what the company does, what it has accomplished recently and plans to accomplish in the future, and how it brands itself, you can determine whether you’re a good “fit” for the organization and what you can offer the company. Hiring managers want to know whether you’re a good fit and what you offer as well – and they want you to tell them by describing your understanding of the organization and what you offer.

2. Complaining About Your Last Employer

Maybe you didn’t love your previous job. Maybe you outright hated it. Maybe your boss wanted to see you fail, and your company utterly failed to give you the support you needed. But these aren’t facts you should share with a hiring manager – at least, not in negative terms.

When you need to discuss the challenges of a tough former employer, the line between describing your situation and complaining about it is a fine one. You can avoid crossing it by focusing on what you could have accomplished if you’d had the support. Talk about results, not people.

3. Wanting to Work Here for All The Wrong Reasons

Hiring managers who ask “Why do you want to work here?” are looking for a reason to hire you. They want to determine how you will support the work and goals of the company. Candidates who answer this important question with comments like “I really like your product” or “You’re only five minutes from my house” might be telling the truth – but it’s not the truth that will land them the job.

To impress a hiring manager, answer the question “why do you want to work here?” by referring to the company’s culture, accomplishments, or mission statement. Provide an example that ties these factors of the company to your own skills and abilities.

4. Forgetting to Follow Up

Even the best interview can fail to land you the job if you forget to follow up with the hiring manager. A simple, gracious thank you sent immediately after the interview keeps your name fresh in the hiring manager’s mind and helps cement the good impression you strove to make in the interview. Thank the hiring manager for his or her time and express your continued interest in the position.

5. Lying

Misrepresenting or lying about your skills, certifications, or criminal or employment history will cost you a job offer more quickly than any other interview error, according to many hiring managers. While you don’t have to volunteer every fact about your past, you do have to answer direct questions honestly in most cases.

Know which questions employers may legally ask in an interview and which they may not. For instance, “are you authorized to work in the U.S.?” is a legal question; “are you a U.S. citizen?” is not. You may courteously refuse to answer illegal questions – but even here, you should avoid a lie.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our experienced recruiters can help you stand out to hiring managers for all the right reasons. Contact us to learn more, or browse our top job opportunities in St. Paul and Minneapolis today!

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