2 Common Interview Traps

by sysop in Acing the Interview

Common In-Person Mistakesby Kristina Burroughs

Are you guilty of making a mistake that will cost you the interview? It is important to keep these ideas in mind as you prepare for your interview. As recruiters, it is in your best interest to be prepared but not coached to cater to the hiring manager’s preferences. We want to provide an authentic match between you and the potential employer. Too much coaching can be a controversial recruiting method across industries and sectors but for nonprofits, it won’t work long term! Good recruiters want to find the right candidates for the right job and match them in the right organization.

You, as the job seeker, want to be fulfilled and challenged in what you are doing and the organization wants people who will add value to their organization. This only happens authentically when there is a good match between the candidate and employer. Take a look at two major traps that are sure to eliminate you in the interview process and reflect on the jobs you didn’t land. Perhaps you got caught in the trap of one of these common interviewee mistakes.

  • Trap #1: UNPREPARED TO BE AUTHENTIC: Most organizations want to know why you want to work for them. Nonprofits are especially looking for candidates who are passionate about their mission. Trained interviewers can tell when you are giving canned answers. Passion is hard to muster when it is not authentic. Know why you took the interview and be clear about why you are interested. For some nonprofits and roles, articulating the mission is not as important as the skills they are looking for – but  the candidate who has both will beat you out every time!


  • Trap #2: FAILING TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS: Interviewers are looking for clear, concise, and yet thorough answers to their questions. If you avoid giving specific, direct, and clear answers, it will likely eliminate you from moving to the next stage in the interview process. The ability to communicate clearly and interact with the hiring manager is critical to a long standing working relationship. If they can’t understand you or get clear answers in an interview, you may not get the chance to prove you can do that on the job.

Most professional employees have received the decline email or phone call at some point in their career. It is bound to happen a time or two but some mistakes are completely avoidable. Think back on a time when you fell into one of these traps and how you might approach the interview differently in the future.