When it comes to interviewing plenty of mistakes can be made. No one is perfect. No one out there is going to get it right all the time. Learning from our mistakes is what makes us better interviewers and professionals . At seminars people often pull me aside and ask questions or advice. Occasionally, I am asked to evaluate a time w hen something didn’t go as expected. I want to share with you five common interviewing pitfalls, and how to avoid them.

1. No rapport
Building rapport with the person you are talking to is critical to success. Would you want to admit to someone you don’t like or trust? If you struggle with rapport, it could negatively impact the entire interview. It may help to create a list of 10-15 questions you could ask to get to know someone quickly. If they want to know why you are asking these questions, you can always tell them, “I like getting to know someone before I talk to them.” Also, many books are written to help with communication and rapport building. I recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

2. Behavior psycho
Yes, during the interview we want to observe and interpret behavior, but don’t go nuts. Behavior interpretation does not mean Jedi mind reader. When analyzing behavior, we look for concern and it’s our responsibility as interviewers to ask more questions to get closer to the truth. This is a very common error for interviewers just getting started. I see it in seminars all the time. How do we get better at behavior interpretation? I watch reality TV. Shark Tank is one of my favorites. The producers are usually very good at capturing facial expressions. Watch the show on mute. All you will have is the behavior. Then watch the show with sound. What did you catch? What did you miss? What contradictions did you see?

3. Taking it personal
I understand competitive. I was a Division 1 athlete. I don’t like it when the airport security line next to me is going faster than my line. I like to win. However, when it comes to the interview and interrogation, it’s not a competition. If you make the conversation about beating them and winning at all costs, you risk the possibility of a false confession. I’m sure many of you have heard the quote “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever”. How proud will you be if you elicit a false confession? Conducting a thorough and complete investigation will give you the best advantage in the interview room.

4. Breaking the Law
It’s important to know the laws of the profession we are in, just like it’s important to know the rules of the sports we participate in. Many challenges that get cases overthrown in court have nothing to do with the outcome; the method of investigation or interview is what comes under scrutiny. Know the rules. Play by the rules. And yes, company policies count as rules.

5. Treating people with respect
You are talking to other humans. Humans deserve water and the bathroom in this world. You get no extra credit and are not cooler in the eyes of your peers if you deny someone their basic human rights. And seriously…do you really want someone to go #2 in your office? Anticipate these requests will come up, and prepare accordingly. Have a bottle of water in the room, so when they make the request you are able to respond, and not lose momentum. Know what your company policies are regarding requests for the facilities. When I was a kid my dad told me not to walk behind the swing set when someone was swinging. That was great advice. However, I learned the valuable lesson when I walked behind the swing and got knocked over. Sometimes we take good advice, and sometimes we learn the hard way. In the case of interviewing, I am hoping you learn from the mistakes others have made, and not the hard way.

By Angela Nino, CFI