Interview SkillsAs CEO of my company, I am always on the lookout for new talent that can help my business grow. I keep job openings posted for certain positions so that I can always be prepared with good talent as we expand.

Over the last month or so I have been reviewing applicants and have seen a pattern from candidates that needs to be addressed: poor interview skills. I have discussed how hiring for culture is just as or more important than skills, but basic interview skills seem to be missing and I am hoping this helps future candidates.

Top Interview Mistakes:

Responding to a posting that asks for specific qualifications that you do not have. 

Understand that companies look for certain skills and you hoping they will look past this deficiency will not make it happen. I received multiple resumes that had no experience in the areas I was looking for as well as some candidates who were just out of school with no experience.

I am not sure if they are using an interview search company that encourages them to just send their resume to all job postings closely related to what they want to do, but as the interviewer, I do not even look at the rest of resume if they do not have the required skills that I am looking for.

How you answer the question: “Tell me what you know about my company,” 

Be prepared to show that you have done some research. Do not say, “Not much. I thought you would be telling me.” Or saying something like, “I looked at your website and it looks interesting.” Not doing any due diligence in this age of the Internet is by far one of the biggest mistakes for candidates. It shows lack of commitment on the candidate’s part.

Generic summaries.

Again I am not sure who is teaching this to candidates but saying you are “Looking for an opportunity to grow and develop your talents” means nothing to a potential company because it does not let me know who you are. Also adding generic skill sets and descriptions of your roles at previous companies does not stand out from the crowd. It shows you to be inexperienced.

Overstating achievements.

A word of caution. If you overstate achievements it can backfire. Most companies will check references, but also seeing that you grew your past department by 200% will make interviewers wonder why you are moving on. Why did the company let you go? Be ready to clearly outline achievements and why you moved.

Interview Skills to Help You Stand Out:
  • Apply for jobs where you fit the skills they are looking for. Or, if you are going to reach for something outside of what a company is asking for, send a note as to why you think your past skills apply.
  • Create a summary that shows who you are and why you are applying. A resume should be your history and the summary should represent who you are. Look at some examples on Linked In profiles for good summaries.
  • Find a way to Stand Out. My friend Grant Cardone does not accept resumes. He wants a short two-three minute video explaining why he should hire you. This allows him to see the personality of the person and how they fit the culture of his company. As of now not many companies are asking for this, so this is a great tool for you to stand out. It shows creativity and your willingness to show who you are. Make sure the tone of the video fits the profile of the company. If a company is more traditional, then sending a video of you in causal clothes standing outside in a park may not be the right fit.

Contrary to what the news says, there are companies looking for great candidates to bring in. Understand that your interview skills are part of marketing yourself and taking these tips will help you make it to the top of the resume pile.

 is the current CEO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a writer, National Speaker  and Management Trainer.

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