10 Job interview weaknesses and how to avoid them
Updated: Feb 1
Have you recently attended a job interview and did not get selected despite doing your best? Did you analyse the reasons? Basically it could be because of failing to address the top 10 job interview weaknesses.
Meanwhile the landscape of the job market is dynamic and is changing constantly. Moreover the skillsets required are constantly evolving creating new jobs and new skill requirements.
Succeeding in a job interview requires strong preparation weeks ahead of the date. Therefore you should know your subject matter well and be able to showcase your talents as described in the CV. The aim is to present yourself as the right candidate. To be successful, you have to address certain hidden job interview weaknesses. Here are the 10 top job interview weaknesses and how to overcome them.
Job interview questions
Surprisingly, face to face job interviews continue to the be the favourite mode of selection process. This happens even when the candidate has sufficient experience and necessary qualifications. Accordingly, most employers prefer to interview the candidate before finalising the appointment. Significantly this helps the employer to see the candidate in person (either physically or online).
Additionally it helps them to have a better assessment of the person. Concurrently, for the candidate it is an opportunity to showcase their personality and demonstrate their talents. Therefore proving that they are the candidate for the job. It is found that on an average 6-10 candidates are called for an opening and generally have 2-3 rounds of interview https://careersidekick.com/interviews-per-job/
The job interview questions vary from job to job and from people to people. Further, the questions could be based on your subjects or any topic including your previous job. They could also be behavioural questions like, “Tell me the last time you got angry”.
While most of the questions are asked by the interview panel to the candidate, the candidate also gets to ask some questions. Generally, in the last part of the interview the candidate is asked, “Do you have any questions for us”? Equally, this will be the opportunity for the candidate to ask the relevant questions to show that they are the best fit for the job.
Job Interviews - No longer a Q&A Session
Earlier the job interviews focused on asking questions on a variety of subjects. For example questions ranged from knowing the height of the Eiffel Tower to the subjects studied. The selection of the candidate depended on how quickly and effectively the questions were answered. Obviously no emphasis was placed on the ability of the candidate to engage in meaningful discussions.
In time the job interviews shifted completely to a new dimension. Today’s interviews are more of a ‘dialogue’ between the interview board and the candidate. They are encouraged to engage the interview panel in asking questions and discussing the answers.
So to ask the right questions, apart from having a wide knowledge about variety of subjects, the candidate must research extensively about the company. And conduct a thorough study of the Company’s product range and expansion plans. Further doing a complete search about all the latest news of the company in the public domain will help immensely.
Armed with this kind of information the candidate can ask the right questions to the Board. Consequently this will help in participating in meaningful discussion. Additionally this will also help the candidate to project himself/herself as a bright and enterprising job seeker.
Companies are no longer looking for people with top scores in the academics or rank holders. They want individuals who can adjust to multicultural environments and deal with different situations.
While all efforts should be taken to study the company and prepare for the questions there are some job interview weaknesses which we should avoid.
10 Job interview weaknesses and how to avoid them
A job interview is the most crucial aspect of a job selection. The success in a job interview process involves a multifaceted approach. Answering the questions is only one aspect of the interview. There are few other areas which needs to be addressed to be successful in the job interview.
1. Inappropriate dressing:
‘Your clothes speak your image’. A poorly dressed person conveys enough about himself/herself even without speaking a word. Hence it is important to wear appropriately for the interview. It is better to overdress than find yourself inadequately attired. Avoid wearing bright colours or the latest on the fashion street, unless of course you are interviewing to be a model or an actor. For most jobs dressing conservatively will help.
Though many IT and media companies don’t mind if the candidates turns up in jeans and t shirts. A quick research will help you to find out what to wear for the interview and the acceptable dress code of the Company.
2. Do not be a “Know it all” person:
There are some candidates who display the “know it all’ image. Any question asked by the panel, the candidate will have a condescending smile on the face. They feel the questions are very elementary and an insult to their intellect. And quite often they take a few moments and then answer the question with a cynical smile. Such people often launch into lengthy explanation for a question to show off their knowledge in the subject.
The panel can easily spot such candidates and can make the interview difficult and even become miserable. No one likes a smart Alecs. '
3. Body language:
It does not matter whether a person is tall or short, fat or thin. The only requirement is how well the person carries himself/herself. Body language plays an important role in creating lasting impressions. It is important to focus on the body language which conveys the impression of a diligent and intelligent person.
Sitting in a slouched manner or stretching legs on the chair does not convey a professional image. One should sit straight and comfortably and avoid crossing your legs. If you get an opportunity to shake hands, offer a handshake that is strong and firm. You should look straight into the eyes of the person with a small smile that is inviting and pleasant.
4. Arriving late to an interview:
Keeping time is a virtue that needs to be practiced and imbibed as the most important life lesson. Time is valuable to everyone. What message do you convey when you arrive late for an interview or a meeting? Obviously of one who does not value the time of others. Also arriving late for an interview is an unpardonable sin with serious consequences in the job selection process.
If you have an emergency and cannot reach on time, call ahead and inform about the delay. Significantly this might help in salvaging the situation.
5. Radical views on politics and religion:
We all have our views on controversial topics like religion and politics. But as part of our job interview preparation we should always be careful not to air our views in a radical manner. Occasionally, to elicit the behavioural aspect of the candidates, there would be questions on politics and religion. Of the 10 job interview weaknesses this is the most important which we should address and be cautious about.
When such questions are raised, it is always better to answer it in a neutral manner without giving away your opinions or views. You can try to answer it by a neutral statement. “Well, this is a controversial question and I am sure there are divergent views about this. As far as I am concerned everyone is entitled to their views and they all should be respected”.
6. Inability to express yourself clearly:
Communication is a key skill for success in life. Whether be it in a relationship or in your career, we should be able to communicate eloquently and with confidence. This key metric gets a critical testing in a face to face job interviews.
Communication is not using high sounding words or jargon. It is speaking with confidence using simple words and brief sentences. Our sentences should be short, crisp and to the point. Pronouncing a particular word could be tolerated in view of the linguistic differences but grammatical errors are not.
Practice the answers to the likely questions you might be asked before hand. Since this will help you to frame your words and sentences. Going to a specialist club like the Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org) will help in improving your communication skills.
7. Condemning the past employer:
Even if you have left the previous job under a difficult situation, never ever complain about your previous employers. Nor be critical of your ex bosses. Try to talk about the positive learnings you had in the job and the skills you could acquire while at the job. Down play any negative aspect of the job and offer no criticism of the previous employer.
Take extra care and do not discuss the confidential information of your previous company in the interview. Never offer any information which is not in public domain. Matters relating to trade designs, performance figures, strategic initiatives should never be disclosed. Normally the interview panel does not expect you to divulge such information and you should politely refuse to discuss them if you are provoked into a discussion.
8. Not living up to your resume:
A resume is our advertising profile. People very often sprinkle the resume with words designed to catch the attention of the recruiter. “Dynamic”, “Result oriented” “team player” “fast learner”…the list is endless. While it is not wrong to terms yourself in such adjectives, you should ensure that you are living up to them. You should have proven examples of you being a dynamic team player and a fast learner.
Include only such statements and facts that can be proven during the job interview. The purpose of a resume is to get you to the interview. So there is a tendency to exaggerate our achievements and about our personality to ensure that we get the interview call. The danger lies in not being able to live up to the resume.
This would also include providing wrong statements about your qualifications and experience and producing fake documents.
9. Being aggressive:
Like the “know all’ discussed above, another weakness we display in a job interview situation is to be an aggressive person. Walking into the interview with confidence is different from walking into the room as if you own the place! Looking down on the interview panel and drawing the chair noisily and sitting with legs crossed and your feet shaking, is enough to give you negative points in the interview.
You should be firm and polite in your stance. Use a tone that is audible to everyone and do not indulge in shouting or threatening the interview panel members.
10. Focus on the money factor:
While the monetary benefit of a job is well understood, it is often considered impolite to discuss it openly in a job interview. It is a critical factor but best left out till the recruiter brings it up.
Your skills, education and experience should speak for you regarding the monetary benefit of the job. Another job interview weakness is changing jobs too often just for a hike in your salary. Changing jobs is considered healthy and necessary for a career growth. But changing jobs frequently for a slight increase in salary is not professional and may count against the candidate.
To sum up
The competition for the jobs, especially the right jobs, will always remain. Evidently enough care should be exercised in avoiding the 10 job interview weaknesses. Significantly, the change in the working pattern after the Corona pandemic has a big impact on recruitment. Since work from home has gained acceptance, the competition landscape has changed.
Today the choice of candidates has increased tremendously for an employer. The geographical restrictions have blurred and are vanishing. To hire an employee from anywhere in the world, is now easy because the issue of work permits is no longer pertinent.
To conclude, we should remember that competition is no longer local, it is now international. And this is where a strong candidate with sufficient preparation to address the weakness of the job interviews will succeed.