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The Top 3 Interview Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Interviewing is stressful and there are all kinds of little landmines you can step on if you’re not careful. We’d like to alert you to the Top 3 worst interview mistakes you can make, so you can avoid them, ace your interview, and start your new job.

Going negative

Disparaging your current or former employer, job, or coworkers will get you nowhere. Except for out the door without a second interview. Don’t do it. No matter how tempting it is. Savvy interviewers sometimes test for this by asking questions like, “Why are you leaving your current position?” or “What were the problems in the office?” Don’t fall prey. Keep it positive. Talk only about the benefits of working where you’ve worked, what you’ve learned along the way, and what you’re going to bring to this new role. 

Why going negative is so bad: Negativity really turns everyone off and, worse, it opens a window into your character. How you speak about other people will let your employer know how you’re going to speak about them and, ultimately, how you’re going to talk about their company and its culture. As an executive assistant or personal assistant, you’re exposed to a lot of confidential information. Interviewers want to know that they can trust you to keep their secrets.

Watch out for: Avoid a too-chummy rapport with the person who’s interviewing you. It can lull you into a sense of false camaraderie. Don’t be tricked into sharing confidential information or saying anything negative, no matter how well you seem to get along with the interviewer.

Walking in unprepared

Do your homework on the firm. Know what the company does. Why it exists. And what it hopes to do. Google its leadership. Read the website. Then go to your interview prepared with a few questions about the company, the role you’re hiring for, and the team you’ll be working with. Employers are looking for assistants who show initiative. When you come prepared with relevant, intelligent questions, they’ll know you’ll be an asset to their team. 

Even more important, though, is to know yourself. Before you go into any interview, really connect with the job description, then reflect on your skill set and strengths and be prepared to explain how your experience is relevant. But don’t stop there! Think about a few stories from your work life that will illustrate your skills. You want to let the interviewer know how you’ll actually implement the skills that you say you have.

Rambling on (and on) (and on)

Rambling is a sign of nervousness. It’s understandable—interviews can be nerve-wracking—but great executive assistants are known for their poise and grace under pressure. Now is your time to shine! Learn to be comfortable with silence. As soon as you answer a question, pause, and let the interviewer continue the conversation. Know the job you’re interviewing for, know what you bring to the table, and be prepared to tell them how you add value. Answer each question thoroughly. And then stop talking.

That’s it! Now, go out there and ace that interview!

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