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The Biggest Mistake I See Interviewees Make

Written by: Mac Boom, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Revealing the biggest mistake made in interviews: focusing on personal benefits over company value.

Serious man in formal wear looking at businessman with clipboard during job interview

Before I expose the biggest mistake I see interviewees make. I’m curious if your mind directs you to any of the below faux pas:

  • The interviewee rambles too much when providing answers

  • The interviewee didn’t complete research on the company ahead of time

  • The interviewee didn’t send a thank-you note after the interview

While the above faux pas are less than ideal and would most certainly be corrected in 1:1 coaching with me, my answer is not included in the above options. Are you ready for my answer? Are you sure? Ok. Here it is. Interviewees are most often guilty of communicating how the job they’re applying for would benefit them, as opposed to how their skills and qualifications would benefit the company. You may have a precious new bundle of joy at home to support. You may believe you deserve the job due to your experience and work ethic. Perhaps you’ve heard about the company’s generous 401k match and you want to get in while the getting's good. Maybe you just bought a new house and you’ve got a mortgage and bills to pay. My question to you though, is why should any of that matter to the person that’s considering hiring you? My friend, it doesn’t. While your interviewer may appreciate your new baby and desire to secure a stable financial future for yourself, they are completely irrelevant to your ability to achieve success and profitability in the role you’re applying for. And at the end of the day, that is the only thing your interviewer cares about. No, seriously. It’s the only thing. Your claims of an impressive work ethic and the transformative years you spent as the general manager of that big retail chain are great and all, but if you can’t substantiate how the experiences you gained in that role can be specifically leveraged to increase efficiency, grow revenue, and add value to the role you’re applying for, then your claims don’t matter. Let’s pretend you wanted to make an industry change. While this challenge itself can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be impossible as long as you communicate how the skills you gained from your previous employers will lead to success in this new potential role. For example, if you have a background in teaching and are transitioning into a sales role, it will be critical to identify and articulate transferable skills such as consultation, public speaking, and organization. You must be prepared to establish a connection between these skills and their invaluable contribution to attaining exceptional profitability and success in the field of sales.

Ask yourself what ROI (return on investment) the interviewer is going to get from hiring you. Your future employer will expect you to perform duties that are, at minimum, equal in value to the salary they’re paying you. Ideally, you outperform that salary.

I relentlessly instruct my clients to embed this messaging into their interview answers. Communicate. Your. Value. If you do that, then the personal gains will come. I promise!

Of course, we’re all thinking about our own interests when applying for jobs. We envision the possibilities of what we can do, buy, or invest in with our potential earnings. Perhaps we ponder the drastically improved work/life balance the new gig could offer. We dream of leaving our current office with a sense of relief, hope, and happiness, knowing it's our last day at a company we no longer love. And let me be clear–you should feel these things as you progress in the interview process. Don’t feel guilty about all the ways this job would benefit you and your family. Advancing through interviews is a thrilling experience, and the sense of hope that intensifies with each step is truly exhilarating.

But during your interview, you can’t communicate any of these personal desires.

Your sole focus must be on communicating the value you will bring to the job, the department, your hiring manager, and your future organization.

By embracing this approach, you will position yourself as a top candidate and maximize your chances of securing a role that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Stay other-focused, friends, and just watch the puzzle pieces of your life start to finally fit together.

Ready to fast-track your journey to a more fulfilling, meaningful, and lucrative career? Then your next step is to work 1:1 with me!

Click below to find the best coaching package(s) for your needs!

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Mac Boom, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Mac Boom is an extensively certified job search expert with successful experience in helping job seekers secure their dream roles. She has a deep comprehension of modern recruiting and hiring trends and is renowned for securing lucrative job offers for her clients through writing compelling résumés, offering invaluable interview coaching, and lending insight into finding success on LinkedIn. Her own professional journey inspired her to discover powerful methods that helped her achieve purpose and prosperity. She now shares these strategies with her clients to help them achieve their most ambitious career goals.



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