THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA Are You Making These 5 Interview Mistakes?
By Jessica Sitomer
Poor, naïve, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) walks in for an interview with the world’s biggest fashion magazine editor and makes mistakes. Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) is calm, yet ruthless when she confronts Andy during the interview with, “…and you have no style or sense of fashion.” A stern finger wags in Andy’s face as she tries to speak up for herself, “No, no, that wasn’t a question,” Miranda calmly declares, and the interview is over.
Andy made a huge mistake when going in for the interview. She did not do the research on the woman with whom she was interviewing. The #1 mistake people make when they go in to interview is they don’t do the proper research on the company (it’s work & it’s people) or the person with whom they are interviewing. It’s so easy to research people these days. Google them and check out LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Here are 5 more mistakes to watch out for when you interview:
1. Focusing on your agenda (getting the job): This mistake is easy to fix- instead of focusing on getting the job, focus on creating a relationship with the person interviewing you. Too many times, people focused on getting the job, worry about answering questions “right” instead of answering them genuinely. Focus on the relationship with your interviewer and you will feel comfortable enough to answer questions genuinely.
2. Talking when you should be listening: Too many people talk too much because they are nervous. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk at all, just that some of the best interviews happen when you actively listen. The person interviewing you thinks you’re a great listener and you learn a lot about what the interviewer wants. Come prepared with questions so you can help the interviewer help you.
3. Talking yourself out of a YES: The interview has gone well, you even get a “You seem great, I see no reason why I shouldn’t hire you.” Then, your excitement gets the better of you and instead of saying, “Thank you,” and leaving, you keep talking and talking until before you know it, you’ve talked yourself out of the “yes”. The person no longer wants to hire you. Once you get a “yes” it is time to leave!
4. “You” don’t show up for the interview: I don’t mean physically you aren’t there, I mean the “you” whom your colleagues respect, your family loves, and your friends think is a crack-up isn’t there. You sit in the chair and the charm, the funny, the smart, the (insert whatever makes you “You”), drains out of your body. You may think you’re in “interview mode” but in reality you’re just dull. Be prepared to share stories to illustrate the points you want to make. When you tell a story, you get lost in it so your personality comes through. This gives the interviewer a good idea of who would be showing up for work.
5. No follow up plan: You walk out of the office without asking when a decision will be made. Then you wonder if it’s too soon or too late to follow up and in the end, you never follow up. Follow up is really important. The first follow up should be a thank you note. The second should be just before the time the employer is making the hiring decision so you are top of mind. The third should be a week after the date the hiring was to occur. If someone else was hired, at least you’ll know and you can wish the employer the best (then you can maintain a relationship because you could work together in the future). BUT, you may find out on the third follow up that the date has been pushed and you’re still in the running, in which case, you’ll need to follow up again.
Remember, you are interviewing the interviewer as well. Andy took a job with a woman who insulted her and treated her like crap in the interview and the job not surprisingly turned out to be stressful and abusive.
1. Come up with 3 qualities about you that make you right for the job.
2. What is a story from your life that highlights these qualities that you can share in an interview so your interviewer can deduce these qualities about you rather than you telling them? For example: responsible, good under pressure, works well with others.
Learn from Andy’s mistakes in her interview, so you can land the job AND the employer of your dreams!