The biggest mistake people make in job interviews.

It’s a story we’ve heard over and over again, and probably experienced ourselves.

You apply for a job, and finally receive a phone call. You prepare for the interview, harassing your friends in the lead up with “What questions do you think they’ll ask?”

The day comes. You’re nervous, but you’re ready. And then you nail it. Hit it out of the park. Goddamn you’re likeable. “I’m a shoe-in!” you think. You laugh at that fantastic, off-handed joke you made five minutes in. You were born for this job. Next thing you know you’ll be the CE….

"You're nervous, but you're ready." Image via iStock.

Aaaand nup.


You were unsuccessful. You didn't land the job, and it feels like you've just been rejected after the best date of your life.

Forbes contributor Liz Ryan thinks she might know why.

"The most common reason smart and capable people who interview well don't get hired is that they forget the purpose of the interview," she says.

"A job interview is not a time and place to crow about your skills or your amazing accomplishments," she continues. Uh oh.

Video by Mamamia

"It is a time and place to ask questions!"

According to Ryan, your questions should be thoughtful and incisive. So, what should you ask questions about? Here are some suggestions, according to Forbes:

  1. What did the last person in the position do exceptionally well?
  2. What is the single largest problem facing your staff and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem?
  3. Why do you work here?
  4. "What challenges can I expect to encounter in the first 90 days?"

A hiring manager wants to know what you're going to add to their workplace, and exploring a case study specific to the company is a way of illustrating you're the perfect candidate.

Got it? Now go forth and land that dream job, pal.