Everybody has a hard time learning how to interview. It’s a skill like any other that requires preparation, practice, and patience. But it can be even harder for millennials, who often aren’t familiar with how to behave in professional situations. Here are 10 common mistakes millennials make—and how to avoid them.
1. Focus on me, me, me
Oversharing is perfect for a late night dish session with your new roommate. It’s not appropriate for an interview. Don’t misinterpret the “Tell me about yourself” part of the interview as a chance for you to rattle on and on about your life and dreams. Keep it professional and relevant to the task at hand.
Conversely, millennials are often hesitant to talk about their strengths and skills, lest they come off as arrogant. A bit of selling yourself is not only permissible, it’s going to be necessary. Strike a good balance between confidence and arrogance.
What you wear to the interview will make a lasting impression—one you may not have time to change in the course of a short interview. Do yourself a favor and look your absolute best. Err on the side of professional. You can always go more casual later once you have the lay of the land, and the job.
4. Not doing your homework
Before you go into an interview, you must learn everything you can about the company and the position. Read up. Take notes. Have answers ready to show you’ve done your homework and you can get done what they need done.
5. Maintaining a social media s***show
Go through your social media profiles and walls and feeds and scrub them clean of anything that might give a potential hirer pause. That includes party stuff, political stuff, and anything otherwise questionable.
6. Not using your age to your advantage
Yes, older, more seasoned candidates have more experience. But if you can find a way to sell your age as an asset, that can give you a huge boost. Figure out what that means to you—passion, vigor? Then sell it.
7. Not asking questions
You will be asked if you have any questions. Have a few prepared and ask them.
8. Not speaking like a grown-up
Um…. like… you know. It’s hard sometimes, bro. It’s like…. (you’re not going to get the job). Do a few mock interviews with a pal and put a quarter in a jar every time you use lame fillers like these in your speech. When you can get through a few sentences without them, you’re good to go.
9. Fear of commitment
The hiring manager wants someone who can be in it for the long run. Even if you don’t want that—even if you are a “typical millennial” and want to keep your options open at all costs, the interview is not the place to assert yourself. Research is your friend here. The more invested and informed you seem about the company, the more likely you are to assuage their fears that you’ll get hired and bail.
10. Poor communication skills
It’s not enough to talk like a grown-up. You also have to write like one. Proofread every piece of correspondence you send for errors, large and small. And learn to write clearly and well. It’s almost as important as the way you speak.