If you are reading this right now, chances are high that you have a job interview coming up shortly. Perhaps you are not nervous because thanks to today’s talent shortage, you may choose between 4 or 5 job offers served to you on a silver platter every single day.
Being in this luxurious position, you might believe that if a company wants to hire you, they need to apply to you and not the other way around (which, in some cases, is already happening via your LinkedIn inbox).
But what if it doesn’t work this way? Maybe you are nervous because you really want this job. What if you are worrying about the wrong things?
The truth is, if you want just any job, you can probably find one easily. But if you want to be part of an A-team or an inspiring company, there are some things you might want to know before accepting that interview invitation.
Mistake 1: Who will you be working for?
Thanks to our reputation, a well-visited website, and a lively blog, madewithlove has a high natural inflow of applicants which puts us into the privileged position to still choose from numerous candidates.
Regardless of the fact that madewithlove is also facing a fierce war for talent, we still only want the best people for our clients and for ourselves. A few years ago (2018), we set up an auxiliary service helping startups and scale-ups with finding the right talent and staffing their IT teams.
Most of the vacancies on our career page are for positions with our clients. This is stated on the page itself and repeated in the beginning of each job ad. Still, we are surprised how many candidates come to an interview without the slightest idea which company they are applying to.
In the best case, they have read something about madewithlove, but they usually know very little to nothing about the company that would actually hire them.
So if you have not done it before applying, make sure you go through the job ad, find out who the hiring party is, visit their website, take notes, and write down relevant questions to ask the interviewer.
Mistake 2: No interview preparation!
The same goes for what you will be doing in this new role and for the requirements. We usually describe three types of skills. Most of the listed skills will be evaluated throughout the recruitment process:
- The soft or human skills (personal habits and traits that shape how you work, on your own and with others)
- The hard or technical skills (technical knowledge or training that you have gained through any life experience, including in your career or education)
- The bonus points (skills, habits, or traits that are nice to have, but not mandatory)
A good applicant has read these and thought about previous situations where they demonstrated any of these skills in their work.
If anything about the role or the job description is not clear, you can always ask during the interview. Having some good questions to ask the interviewer will not only help you to get a better understanding of the position (and if it corresponds to what you are looking for), it will also make the interview feel more like a conversation.
The interviewer will understand that you prepared these questions beforehand and value your effort.
Mistake 3: Technology gets in the way of the perfect job!
Nothing is so annoying as technology that fails at the wrong moment. Make sure to test your video conferencing tool and install any necessary updates. Check if your camera and audio are working and ensure a fast internet connection. If needed, find a place that offers enough bandwidth to have a proper interview.
Another real turnoff are noisy notifications on your computer or phone interrupting your interview. Not only do they leave an unprofessional impression on the person you are interviewing with, they also may distract you and make you lose your train of thought right in the middle of explaining a complex project you worked on.
And to tell you a secret, any kind of “beep” or “ping” greatly annoys our hiring manager!
After all, unless you are a doctor or a firefighter, no lives will be saved if you keep your phone on during an interview. And if you do need it for an urgent matter, let the interviewer know. We are all human and recognize that extenuating circumstances do exist.
Mistake 4: Errors on your CV or cover letter!
Double-check and triple confirm! Your CV and cover letter will be read by many people throughout your job hunting process. Therefore, it makes sense to conduct a thorough spell-check on both and also double-check if, for example, the dates are correct for the different positions you worked in.
If you are addressing your cover letter to a hiring manager, make sure to spell their name correctly. Even if certain mistakes may pass under their radar, this one will not!
Mistake 5: React instead of being proactive!
You may not believe how many people mysteriously disappear on the day they are supposed to interview. Were they afraid of us or were they simply hired elsewhere and did not bother to inform us?
We may never know but if they apply again within the next 12 months our ATS will automatically recognize the matching data, merge the existing profiles, and show their previous history of ghosting.
When having to choose between 2 equal candidates, we prefer the one that is less likely to miss the appointment.
So get up, dress up, and show up and you’ll be one step further in the process!
However, if you cannot make it to the interview (on time) for whatever reason, make sure you reach out to the interviewer and inform them beforehand. Ideally, you should make a suggestion for a new time slot, or even better, a few alternatives they can choose from.
Mistake 6: No suit or facetime!
Suits and ties are not our style. No need to show up as if you were seeing your bank for a loan, but you still may want to be fully dressed and have brushed your teeth (and hair) for the occasion.
If you are using an external camera, make sure you face it. If the camera is placed at an angle, perhaps the interviewer cannot look you in the eye, which feels very awkward. In real life, you want to look people in the eye, too!
You may want to use the gallery setting of your Zoom application to control the angle of your camera and check your posture and body language. Also, make sure the lighting is good so the interviewer doesn’t have to search for your face in the dark. If you are usually sitting in front of a window, you might want to face it instead.
Mistake 7: Endless jargon!
The first person you will meet during the interview process will most likely be the hiring manager. These people often have a limited amount of technical knowledge, but they know a good presentation from a bad one.
Besides, they are more interested in the broader context of your different career stages than in endless technical details. Therefore, make sure that you are able to describe your current and past companies’ products, services, and business models in 2 short sentences.
Why 2? Because two short sentences are better than one long one! If English is not your native language, you might want to write these down and re-read them before the interview (and keep these notes at hand for the call).
Mistake 8: Pretending you are someone else!
You probably apply for roles that more or less match your skillset. But we all know that technology evolves quickly and nobody knows everything. It’s okay if you don’t tick all the boxes of the job description — as long as you are honest about it.
People who are overestimating themselves may actually come across as total beginners, at least when it comes to interviewing. Unlike coffee, bullshit does smell on a Zoom call.
We hope that you found this article helpful and would like to see you soon in a real interview. Check out our career page for our current openings and feel free to follow us on Linkedin to learn about upcoming opportunities.
In any case, we wish you good luck with your next interview! Hopefully, these tips will help you land that perfect job.