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Episode #226 – Your Animal Health or Veterinary Interview, Part 11: Interview Mistakes

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #226 - Your Animal Health or Veterinary Interview, Part 11: Interview Mistakes

Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we will be continuing our series focusing on the interview stage of the hiring process for job seekers and professionals in the employment marketplace.

Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.

Julea: Stacy, is this our final podcast episode in our special series about the interview?

Stacy: Yes, it is. In our previous episode, we addressed how to “close the interview” and what to do after the interview is over. Today, I’d like to wrap things up by discussing some of the most common interview mistakes, as well as some of the most damaging mistakes. As you can imagine, there are many mistakes that people can make during the interview. Some of these are evident, and some of them are not quite as evident. Much of our series has dealt with best practices and what to do during the interview, but in today’s podcast episode, we’ll address what not to do.

Julea: That sounds great. Where would you like to start Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start by saying that you should not tell the people who are interviewing you about your brother’s meth lab.

Julea: What? Did that really happen?

Stacy: It did. Unfortunately, even people who are interviewing with some of the best organizations in the industry often show remarkably poor judgment, and that poor judgment costs them what could have been a great career opportunity. My clients give me feedback following interviews and I have personally arranged thousands of interviews over the years in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. My clients tell me about the interview mistakes that candidates have made during the job interview. Some of the feedback, like talking about your brother’s meth lab, borders on the unbelievable, but you can rest assured that these are all things that candidates have actually said and done.

Julea: Do you mean that you have some other gems like my brother’s meth lab?

Stacy: I certainly do. Some other crazy things that candidates have done during the interview include:

  • Telling the interviewer that they’re shopping in the Gap during the phone interview and that they can shop and interview at the same time.
  • Wearing a sweater with holes in it to the interview.
  • Wearing jeans with holes to the interview.
  • Talking about how they got involved in a money-laundering scheme.


Julea: Wow, I almost can’t believe that these things happened.

Stacy: Yes, and I actually have one more mistake that I almost forgot about. We once had a candidate who arrived 45 minutes late to an interview due to traffic. There was an event happening in town that resulted in crowded streets and congested traffic.

Julea: Wouldn’t that be a viable excuse, an event happening in town?

Stacy: Well, the problem was that we told the candidate about the event, giving them plenty of time to prepare for that contingency. They were still 45 minutes late.

Julea: So what happened?

Stacy: As you can imagine, that mistake cost the candidate the job. The hiring manager said that if the candidate was late to an interview, then they would be late to a customer’s office, since the job was a sales position.

It doesn’t matter how impressive your resume is. It doesn’t matter how qualified you believe you are for a certain position. There are mistakes you can NOT make prior to the face-to-face interview, during the interview, or after the interview.

Julea: Stacy, do you have other interview mistakes for us today? I assume that not everyone tells the hiring manager about their brother’s meth lab or how they got involved in a money-laundering scheme.

Stacy: That is correct and that is why these examples stand out.  Those were extreme examples that I used to prove a point. However, there are plenty of other mistakes that candidates can make during the interview, and I happen to know which mistakes that hiring managers consider to be the biggest.

Julea: You do? How’s that?

Stacy: A couple of years ago, The VET Recruiter conducted a survey of hiring managers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. As part of that survey, we asked them to identify the biggest mistake that candidates make during the face-to-face interview.

Julea: What were the results of that survey?

Stacy: There were four main interview mistakes that hiring managers mentioned, and I’d like to address them in order, ranked from #4 to #1.

The first mistake, or #4 on our list, is not knowing enough about the company or organization.

There is really no excuse for this mistake. After all, there’s more than likely an ample amount of information about the company online. Candidates need to go online and do research on the company prior to the interview. Not only that, but if you’re working with a recruiter, they can also provide you with information regarding the organization. Preparation is critical for a successful face-to-face interview, and that most definitely includes preparing yourself in regards to the organization for which you’d like to work.

The second mistake, or #3 on our list, is talking about money and/or benefits too soon.

We touched upon this in a previous episode in our podcast series about the interview, and this is a major turn-off for hiring managers. After all, they’re trying to figure out how to determine the value that you could bring to the organization, and then you start talking about compensation. This is like talking about getting married on a first date. That is a premature move, for sure, one that immediately puts your candidacy in jeopardy. Don’t fall prey to this temptation. Once again, an experienced recruiter can help guide you through this process, letting you know not only when to approach the subject of compensation, but also how to approach it.

The third mistake, or #2 on our list, is being cocky or arrogant.

There is a fine line between being confident and being cocky. It’s quite a dangerous line to walk, because being confident will boost your chances, while coming across as cocky can sink your candidacy. Remember, the hiring manager isn’t only assessing your technical skill set and your experience. They’re also assessing your potential as a cultural fit. You must work well with your co-workers, or you won’t be working there at all.

And the fourth mistake, or #1 on our list, is not asking enough questions.

This is another inexcusable mistake, and that’s one of the reasons that hiring managers ranked it as #1 mistake that candidates can make. Ideally, you should have a list of at least 10 questions, both general and specific, and you should also be asking questions as the interview progresses. When a hiring manager asks you at the end of the interview if you have any questions and you say, “No,” that’s pretty much the “kiss of death” for your candidacy with your organization. The company wants you to exhibit some intellectual curiosity by asking some questions. It also shows engagement and interest in your part in the position and the company.

Julea: And we just devoted an entire podcast episode to asking and answering interview questions, so the members of our listening audience should definitely have a list of questions to ask during their interview.

Stacy: Yes, that is absolutely correct! But I have another list of mistakes to avoid during the interview.

Julea: Tell us more Stacy.

Stacy: Yes, I have one more list, and this involves mistakes that people may not realize they’re making.

The first mistake is saying “always” and “never.”

These are examples of absolutes, which are indicative of an “all or nothing” pattern of thinking. Organizations are not in the habit of hiring candidates who employ this type of thinking. That’s because the world is full of problems and solutions that cannot be addressed with absolutes. Employers want to hire people who are aware of this and don’t give into the temptation to blindly categorize people and situations because it’s easier or in an attempt to portray themselves in a more positive light.

The second mistake is “over selling” yourself.

Julea: But doesn’t a candidate have to “Sell” themselves during the interview?

Yes, but keep in mind that you are NOT the focus of the interview. The focus of the interview is the problem that the employer has and that it is attempting to solve through the hiring of a candidate. So what you’re really “selling” is how you are going to solve the employer’s problem if they were to hire you.

The third mistake is getting too personal during the interview.

You might have heard before that it’s a good idea to try to make a personal connection with the person or people who are interviewing you. And it is a good idea. It can help to “break the ice” and lead to a more relaxed and more effective interview. Talking about a shared interest or current events in the world is a way in which to do this, although you have to keep politics out of it!

Julea: Yes, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to talk politics with what’s happening in the world.

Stacy: A person must be very careful. You want to make sure that you don’t “cross the line.” This can mean any number of things, including mentioning the fact that you were checking the person out on social media or making a comment about the photo of their family that’s next to them. Making a personal connection is good, but doing so while keeping proper boundaries is even better.

Our fourth and final mistake is feeling too relaxed.

It’s important to finish strong during the interview. Unfortunately, some people tend to relax toward the end of their interview, especially if they believe it has gone well and that they’ve made the proper personal connection with the other people involved.

This is when things can go wrong. Specifically, you might say the wrong thing at the wrong time, making an inappropriate remark that can mar an otherwise solid interview. Being uptight during an interview is not good, but neither is being too relaxed. You want to strive to be somewhere in between, and remember that the only time that you can truly relax is when the interview is completely over.

And if you’re participating in a virtual interview, it’s only completely over when you know for sure that you’ve closed out of the software and no one can see and/or hear you anymore.

Julea: Stacy, we’re just about out of time. Do you have anything else that you like to add before we end today’s episode?

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to say one more thing as we wrap up this podcast series about the job interview. We’ve mentioned this before, but the job interview is basically one of two things. It’s either the beginning of a relationship . . . or it’s the end of one. Since that’s the case, you should be motivated to start that relationship in the best way possible. To do that, you can’t focus only the things that you want. It’s the same way when you’re on a first date with someone. When you’re on that date, do you only talk about the things that you want? No, you don’t. That’s the quickest way to make sure there will be NO second date.

Getting what you want in life is all about finding out what other people want and then working to give them those things. That is the Principle of Reciprocity. This definitely applies to the world of employment, including interviewing for a new job. So make an effort to focus on what you can give to the other person or the other party. Focus on the value that you can provide. Focus on how you can solve their problems. Getting what you want is all about giving other people what they want first. That’s the best way to create long-lasting relationships and also the best way to grow your career, not just in the short term but also for the long haul.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And there is additional information about the job interview on The VET Recruiter website, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. In fact, there is quite a bit of information on our website for professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In the section under “Career Resources,” there are interview tips for job seekers and professionals. These tips include questions to ask during the interview, how to answer certain questions, do’s and don’ts to help make your interview successful, how to navigate the behavioral-based interview, and how to close the interview.

And I also recommend that those who visit The VET Recruiter website also sign up for our monthly newsletter, which also contains tips and strategies for growing your career. You can also follow The VET Recruiter on the various social media channels, including LinkedIn. If you’re going to follow us on just one platform, LinkedIn would be the one that I would suggest. We share a career-related information on LinkedIn, as well.

And of course, if you visit the website, you can also submit your resume and fill out a profile, so that you’re considered for new job openings when they arise.

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure Julea, and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

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