Recently I had the worst interview performance I’ve even given and I’ve been kicking myself ever since, so I thought I would use this to give you a great example of what NOT to do – I will go through my mistakes, tell you exactly what went wrong AND show you how nail an interview by learning from my mistakes.
Mistake 1 – Not have an explanation as to WHY you want the job
What I did: I replied by saying that I loved that the company had Google partner status. Then I said it again. And again. It was the only single point I could apparently pull up to talk about…. I must have mentioned it 5-6 times throughout the whole interview, within various questions. I had recently completed a Google Analytics certificate, which would definitely be worth a mention for the digital marketing role I had applied for – just maybe not the only single point I could give. It was especially cringe worthy when they mentioned later on that it was annoying to keep active, as having these certificates were easy and more of a box ticking exercise.
What you should do: Make a list of the top 3 reasons why you want the job. Then for each point, write the reason why your skills make you good match for each of those reasons. And then tell them! Make sure you’ve researched the company too, so you can really mold your answers to their business needs.
Mistake 2 – Not being prepared with examples of exciting things I have been working on
What I did: I was asked about what I had recently been working on. I had been doing some exciting social media work around the Easter bank holiday, but when it came to talking about the work, I spluttered and faltered. I said ‘I’ve just kind of put some images together and scheduled them on social channels’ and that’s where the conversation stopped.
What you should do: I failed to talk about my work with any enthusiasm or energy and this could look like the attitude I might take to any other work project, which I can imagine would be seriously off-putting to a prospective employer. You need to think about what recent work items you’ve been working on and talk about them with passion and knowledge. What was the reason behind your work? What were the overall aims and targets? I could have talked about how this promotion was showcasing what products we had in stock by showing how people can use them over the summer months with lifestyle imagery – telling them that is was with an aim of getting more sales, creating engagement and furthering our brand awareness. But I just stopped talking and made it sound like I had no reason for why I was doing the work. Employers want to know that you are passionate about the type of work you’re looking to do with them, so show it.
Mistake 3 – Getting things wrong when asked about stuff you do every day
What I did: I was asked about what a typical day consisted of…. and I couldn’t remember. What did I do each day? I just babbled again about some tasks I usually completed, most likely with an air of confusion about it and finishing by saying “and that’s it really”.
What you should do: Please, please take a while to think about what your job role is, what you do, what you love doing, and talk with gusto and enthusiasm. I talked earlier about finding things that you do in your current job and how it applies to the job role you’re applying for – this is where you talk about what you do everyday, what inspires you and why you think it makes you a great candidate for this job. Instead of saying “and that’s it really” you should finish with “and that’s why I love doing X and why I’m so excited about this job role you have open”
Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
There is a theme with all of the mistakes I made, and it was…. a lack of rehearsal and preparation. I didn’t know what to expect with regards to the questions being asked as I was interviewing for a different job role entirely BUT this really shouldn’t have stopped me giving great answers. I just needed to really think about the work I was doing currently, why I was doing it, what work I was excited about doing and had knowledge on, and what I loved about the place I could have been working for. If I had taken a few hours out of my day before the interview, the answers I may have given could have been excellent.
My advice to you;
- Find your confidence – about your work, about your skills and your passions.
- Leave your doubts about your abilities at the door… even just for an hour