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5 Fatal Flaws of Interviewing

In the hiring process, the interview can make or break your candidacy. To help you stay in the running, follow our advice on how to avoid a few fatal flaws of interviewing.

1. Not doing your homework. We’ve talked with so many potentially great candidates who know absolutely nothing about the position or organization to which they are applying. Before speaking with a prospective employer, study the job description, as well as the programs, mission, staff, and other aspects of the organization. Doing some research in advance will not only demonstrate your interest and ability to be prepared, but it will also help you think through ways that you are uniquely qualified for the job.

2. Saying “um,” “like,” or “ecetera.” Most of us use filler words like these in our day-to-day speech. Still, in an interview setting, this can come across as poor communication skills. To avoid sputtering a case of the “um”s during an interview, take a breath and slow down. It can also help to practice some the answers to commonly asked questions in a mirror before the interview to master this skill.

3. Offering too much personal information. It’s ok to share relevant personal information, such as your connection to the organization’s mission, but otherwise keep your private life out of the interview room. Sharing too much personal information can be a sign of poor judgment or communication skills, and can also make the interviewer uncomfortable. Instead, prepare to discuss only information from your professional life that supports your candidacy.

4. Trashing your current or past employers. Negativity is a huge red flag to interviewers. If you badmouth your past employers, what reason are you giving a prospective employer that you won’t do the same to them? Instead, demonstrate your critical thinking skills and ability to work through challenging situations by sharing any learnings gained from difficult work experiences.

5. Bragging. Bring a sense of humility to the interview process. Even if you’ve accomplished amazing feats in your professional life, discuss these with grace and without a big ego. By appearing too overconfident, you run the risk of putting off a prospective employer, as well as communicating that you have nothing to learn. Instead, focus on sharing results from your professional life, and let these accomplishments do the “bragging” for you.

For more friendly advice on what to do (and not do) during the interview process, read our article Meeting the Nonprofit:Ten Interviewing Tips.

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