Style My Soul Explores …Valuable lessons from past job interview mistakes.
Be Concise and Intentional
A mistake I’ve made, and I think nearly every professional has, is talking too much during a job interview. We believe we need to “fill the space,” leading us to go on and on about a topic that could be summarized in a few short sentences. The lesson? Be concise with answers. Take your time coming up with them and be intentional about how you address questions rather than going on and on with filler information. - Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed
Negotiate Your Worth
I have made several mistakes in job interviews over the years, but the one that stands out the most is not asking for enough money. In my first job in an office, I was so excited to get the offer that I accepted the salary they offered me without negotiating. I later found out that I was making significantly less than my colleagues with similar (or less) qualifications. I learned from this mistake that it is important to do your research and know your worth before going into a job interview. I also learned that it is okay to negotiate for a higher salary, and that you should not be afraid to ask for what you deserve. In my subsequent job interviews, I have always asked for a salary that is commensurate with my skills and experience, and I have been successful in getting the salary that I wanted. - Jasper Owens, Owner and Writer, Empyr Owens
Dress Professionally, Regardless of Dress Code
With job interviews, first impressions really do matter. It’s often said that you only have one chance to make a good first impression, and this couldn’t be more true in a job interview setting. My past mistake during a job interview was not paying enough attention to my appearance. I showed up wearing an old t-shirt and jeans, thinking that the company’s casual dress code would also apply to interviews. However, I quickly realized my mistake when I saw the well-dressed candidates waiting in the lobby. Not only did I feel underdressed and unprofessional, but my interviewer also commented on my attire during the interview. The lesson I learned from this experience was to always dress professionally for a job interview, regardless of the company’s dress code. It shows respect for the company and the position you are applying for.
- Keith Sant, Founder and CEO, Kind House Buyers
Provide Concrete Examples
In a previous interview, I overlooked the value of sharing concrete examples. I provided general answers to questions about my abilities, failing to supplement my claims with tangible instances. My responses failed to convince my interviewers of my expertise, which highlighted my error. The lesson? Be specific and offer concrete examples wherever applicable. This substantiates your skills but also shows your real-world problem-solving skills. It’s a practical strategy I apply diligently in all my subsequent interviews. - Abid Salahi, Co-Founder and CEO, FinlyWealth
Value Adaptability Over Technical Skills
During an interview for a senior developer role, I once placed too much emphasis on the candidate’s familiarity with a specific programming language, sidelining their problem-solving skills and adaptability.The hire struggled to keep pace with our dynamic environment. The lesson learned? Technical expertise is important, but adaptability and a growth mindset are equally, if not more, critical in a fast-growing industry like tech. - Alex Stasiak, CEO and Founder, Startup House
Ask Questions to Understand the Role
In a past interview, I failed to ask enough questions about the job specifics. I assumed I understood the role. However, I quickly realized it was quite different than I expected. The company’s policies and definitions of professional terminology were unfamiliar and different from my field of expertise. As a result, I struggled for a few months, feeling out of control and unprepared. The job title and company prestige had initially lured me in, but the reality was frustrating. I eventually left the company by mutual agreement after six months. My lesson is to actively question the interviewer about the role and company to ensure I have all the information needed to make an informed decision.
- Pazit Reuven, Fashion Designer and Blogger, Shawlovers