Interviews: The biggest mistake one can make

What’s the biggest mistake job candidates can make during an interview?

Paula S. Katz | June 1, 2015

Q: What’s the biggest mistake job candidates can make during an interview?

A: When we hear about interviews going horribly wrong, one of the most common recurring themes is people trying to negotiate before they have an offer. The candidates are demanding: I need this and that. Do this and that.

I see candidates before sending them in for the interview and go through a whole presentation. Then they go out and spend a couple of days in the town where the job is and meet with people who are making the hiring decisions. They know the intimate details of the job. I tell candidates it’s x schedule and y money. Yet within the first five minutes they say, “I’ll only work four days a week,” or “I want a base of $250,000, not $200,000.” Those things happen a lot more than you’d think they do with intelligent people.

The market has conditioned candidates to have a “world-is-my-oyster” mentality. I don’t blame them for that. If I received 40 or 50 letters and 20 to 30 phone calls per month about new jobs, I would too. It’s human nature. The supply-and demand-equation has caused candidates to feel they can ask for anything and get what they want.

But as a result, in lots of cases they don’t get an offer.

Response from Tommy Bohannon, divisional vice president, Merritt Hawkins, Irving, Texas.

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One Comment

  1. I never ask for salary / hourly rate. The company will ask me, at the end of the interview, what am I expecting for wages and we leave it at that. I won’t make demands. Your resume will speak for itself and the way you present yourself. One can always meet the company half way regarding salary. In the end, you and the company will be happy with the outcome.

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