Over the years I’ve interviewed a significant number of people for various positions. Some are good, others are bad. But I just had a guy totally blow an interview so I thought I’d share some thoughts.
This guys looked solid on paper. But in person? Wow. Just really, really bad. Here are three major interview mistakes that he made.
Don’t ramble on
I opened the interview by asking the candidate to tell me a bit about himself. Dude, I said a bit, not your entire life story. But once he got rolling, he just rambled on. And on. And on. Honestly, I was so annoyed (and bored) by this that his chances went straight down the drain.
Sure, he could’ve just been nervous but there’s simply no way that I’ll hire someone — no matter how qualified they might be on paper — if I can’t stand the thought of working with them. And rambling on about nothing in particular during an interview is a great way to give me that feeling.
Don’t have inexplicable employment gaps
Another problem with this guy was that he had an extended (as in 2-3 year) gap in his employment record. Gaps of that sort are always a red flag to me, and even more so if the candidate can’t offer a reasonable explanation.
He had a long (and rambling; see above) explanation but it completely lacked substance. It had something to do with being “lucky” enough to have gotten a great job offer during that time but “unlucky” enough to not have accepted it. Huh?
For starters, try projecting some confidence. If he really did get a great offer, why is he telling me that it’s because he was lucky? And if he turned it down, it couldn’t have just been because he was unlucky. There must have been a reason that he made that choice.
As for how he lost the previous job, he didn’t really offer an explanation (even after prodding). And he was likewise unable to explain why he wasn’t able to land an acceptable offer in the months (or years) since he was unlucky enough to have turned down the lucky position.
Don’t indict yourself
And finally… I find it hard to believe that I even have to bring this up, but:
If you feel the need to preface a statement with “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this” then you’re probably right. You shouldn’t tell me, or any other prospective employer, whatever it is that you’re about to say. But guess what? He did.
Believe it or not, during the course of our interview he admitted to having done something illegal at the behest of a former employer (maybe this is what led to the long period of unemployment). Though he said this in a semi-sheephish way, it was clear he was trying to impress me. Seriously? You think that admitting to criminal wrongdoing is going to impress me?
What about you? Have you ever had a job interview blow up in your face (as either the interviewer or the interviewee)? Do you have any tips for mistakes to avoid during the interview process?