job search tip 32From my personal experience, here are the major mistakes that graduates make in the face-to-face interview. I also asked two professionals at major New York investment banks, who interview entry-level candidates on a regular basis, to corroborate these findings. (These are senior, professional bankers, not H.R. folks. They are the hiring authorities – the real deal!)

Here are the major mistakes:

  • Didn’t research the company. Didn’t know the CEO’s name, the size of the company, their business, the market cap, the ticker symbol (for public companies), etc.
  • Didn’t sell themselves, or forgot to communicate: “This is what I can do for you, because this is what I have done in school, and for others,” etc.
  • Were nervous, had poor body language, or didn’t look the interviewer in the eye. They obviously didn’t practice interviewing or selling themselves. They say things like, “What would you like to know about me?”
  • Not having a real understanding of the position (i.e. not doing their homework about the job) or even asking about the position’s responsibilities.
  • Not enthusiastic or did not demonstrate a level of commitment to work, the position, or the industry.
  • Not sharing insights into their personal life that would carry over into their work.
  • Not knowing what is on their resume. For example, being asked a question about a part-time or summer job and not remembering much about it.
  • Not having thoughtful or inquisitive questions to ask at the end of the interview.
  • Not able to differentiate themselves from other candidates (i.e. what makes them a better candidate than others).
  • Not able to identify their weaknesses and show how they plan to strengthen them.
  • Inability to relate what they have studied or what they have done to a business setting.
  • Spent too much time getting ready for trick questions, such as, “Why is a manhole round?” instead of thinking about real, “Why we should hire you,” questions.

These mistakes are so simple to avoid, yet many don’t!