The Top 10…
Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Future Delivery
Email: Jun.Loayza (at) fdcareer.com
Edited by: Jamie Lu
Why List the Top 10 Interviewing Mistakes?
We can teach you everything about how to interview well. Most likely you
will take our advice to heart, but you will build upon the mistakes you
currently make without removing them first. The best way to optimize
your interviewing abilities is to strip away everything that you’re doing
wrong first. Get rid of all the excess wording that you put in your stories
and the unnecessary “Likes” and “Umms” in your speech. Completely
rebuild your interviewing from scratch, using our strategies and tips as
building blocks to create the best possible interview you can give.
The following are the 10 biggest mistakes that students and young
professionals make throughout their recruitment process. Honestly
critique yourself; don’t just say, “Well that’s obvious. There’s no way that
I do that.” Reach out to a friend and ask her to mock interview you and
give you her honest feedback. You’ll be surprised at the number of
insecure or nervous things that you do while you interview that you won’t
even notice until someone points them out to you.
Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a huge advantage over your
competition. Strip your interviewing abilities from these mistakes and
you’ll be able to construct the perfect interview. Enjoy!
#10 Lack of company research
You will not believe the amount of students that walk into the interview room without truly knowing what
the company does. “The company is a consulting firm” is what students will tell me, but what kind of
consulting firm are they? Are they strategy, litigation, human capital, health care? The list can go on and
on. Students also forget to answer one of the most important questions of all: “Why this firm?” Every
company will ask you this question because they want to know if you have a passion for the company and
if you’ll accept an offer if they extend one to you.
Do your research before the interview room
The company will ask you “Why this firm” and you than 1 minute and your friend completely
need to know exactly what it is that makes them understands you without a doubt, then you are
stand out to you. If you can answer the following ready.
questions in a clear and concise manner, then you
have done your company research well: Most importantly, you need to know what
separates the company from its competitors.
1. What industry is the company in? What does the company pride itself on? If the
2. What does the company do? company is a mid-tier firm, then it prides itself on
3. What separates the company from its its company intimacy and high level of
competitors? responsibility. If the company is a big four, then
4. What is the culture like? it prides itself on its enormous reach into many
5. What are the differences between each area different industries and its company perks (sports
of the company? games, Disneyland outings, philanthropy
Make sure that you are able to clearly and
concisely articulate your answers. You need to The Q&A Section
give a simple, succinct answer. Doing your thorough company research will also
help you during the Q&A section at the end of
When is my company research complete? your interview. Ask questions about recent
The best way to gauge if you truly know what the company news because it shows that you truly
company does is to be able to explain it clearly to have an interest in the company and want to
a friend who has never heard about the company. know about its financial future and goals.
If you can explain what the company does in less
#9 “I’m a perfectionist”
Why on earth would you want the recruiter to think that you’re a perfectionist? Take a moment and think
about the characteristics of a perfectionist: annoying, obsessive, and irritating to work with. Remember
the last time you worked with a perfectionist? Did you find it fun? No, you didn’t. You found her hard to
work with and extremely obsessive over the project. Do not say you’re a perfectionist!
Talk about a weakness that can be turned into a strength, that can be viewed as a positive
Yu-kai gives a great example of this kind of be at the office working her hardest because she
weakness: it is a weakness that “sucks to be you, wants to do the best possible work for the team.
but is good for everyone else around you.” Here
are a couple of examples: Always have a story attached to your weakness
about how you’ve turned it into a strength. You
“I find it hard to say no to people” need to tell a concrete story about how you have
This weakness shows that you are a hard worker taken the initiative and developed your skill set.
who strives to please his coworkers and boss. It
implies that you are accustomed to multi-tasking Ultimately, the reason for this question is NOT to
and that you are eager to take on more tasks to see how much you suck. The reason they are
prove your worth. So, this weakness sucks to be asking this question is to find out how you deal
you because you are always asked to do with tough situations. Being critical of yourself is
additional tasks when you’re done. And, this very difficult for most people. It shows great
weakness is good for everyone else around you character to be able to criticize yourself, realize
because you make them look good by doing their your weaknesses, and do something about them.
extra work and taking a load off of their projects. This also shows that you can take criticism in a
positive way and that you will take the initiative
“I’m always too hard on myself” to work harder and become a greater asset to the
It’s the “perfectionist” that doesn’t affect or company.
annoy other people. This shows that whenever
things go bad, you blame yourself rather than Always remember:
everyone around you. So this is bad for you • Your weaknesses should be able to be
because you feel you could always do better. This turned into a strength
is good for everyone around you because you’re • Tell a concrete story of how you have turned
the work horse; you’re the person who will always it into a strength
#8 Focusing only on what you did
Most people feel that all they should write on a resume is what they did during their internship:
“Developed and documented data in excel spreadsheets” or “Assisted staff members with event duties.”
Statements about your responsibilities do not show the value that you can create within a company.
Anyone can assist staff members; instead, write what you did during that position that brought great
value to the company.
If you could speak through your resume, your goal is to say “During my internship, I was impressive
because I did X, Y, and Z which were things that other people could not have done if they were in my
position.” In essence, ten other people could have the same position in the same company as you, but you
stand out because you went beyond what was expected of you and actually accomplished great things.
Resume building is a craft; it takes hours upon hours to create the perfect resume
The Ins and Outs of the Resume Resume Strategy
The Ins of your resume are what skills you Before you begin to write your resume, you must
learned through your experience. For example, if first take a step back and do your research. You
you had a financially heavy internship, then you need to find out what qualities the company is
would gain the ability to build financial models. looking for in a candidate. Does the company
The purpose of writing your Ins is to show the want someone who is a very analytical thinker, or
skills that you learned from your previous does the company want someone with creative
internship and how you can apply them to the talent? You need to know what type of person the
company you are interviewing with. company is looking for.
The Outs of your resume is the value that you Diminishing Marginal Image
created for the company during your internship.
For example, you could write that you cold-called This is when all of your bullet points point out just
and sold over 20,000 units of your product in the one quality that you have. For example, if 6 bullet
course of three months when the actual goal was points in a row say that you’re a great team
only 10,000. This shows that you work above and player, the 7th bullet point that says you’re a great
beyond what is expected of you. Companies are team player wouldn’t say much. You should
interested in the Outs of your experiences strategize your resume so that one section talks
because it clearly reflects what talents you have about your finance ability, the other talks about
as an individual and how you can apply what you how well organized you are, and another talks
learn to real projects and opportunities. about your leadership abilities.
#7 Not ending the conversation
You and the company representative are talking about sports, travel, and what your plans are for next
Christmas. Things are looking up, and she hands you her business card so that you can keep in contact
with her - the perfect connection. You take the card, put it in your resume binder, and continue asking
her questions. You start to run out of interesting questions so you start to ask her general questions
about the job. The people behind you in line are getting impatient but you don’t care because you want to
show that you are passionate about the job. If this is you, then you are the Recruiter Hog.
Everyone hates the Recruiter Hog
Your peers hate the hog establish a connection with the one of the representatives and
because he takes up all of the people who work at the establish a connection. Leave
recruiter’s time. Recruiters company, then maybe the at the right moment and say
hate the hog because he never company just isn’t the right that you’ll be back before you
stops asking questions; he place for you. leave the event. When you
doesn’t give the recruiter the come back, ask the
chance to meet all of the More importantly, if you’re able representative to introduce you
qualified candidates at the to make the connection in less to her colleague. This is an
recruiting event. than 10 minutes, then you want excellent strategy because an
to leave on a positive note. introduction is much more
Chat for less than 10 minutes Close by getting her business effective than just approaching
As a general rule, you should card and let her know that a representative cold. It’s an
be able to make a connection you’re eager to chat with her instant ice breaker and you
with the recruiter and build on by email and hopefully meet for show that you have credibility
it in less than 10 minutes. If coffee sometime. Closing on a because you have been
you’re not able to make that positive note leaves the introduced by her colleague.
connection in less than 10 interviewer with a positive
minutes, then don’t waste your feeling about you. It is great to show your passion
time and move onto the next for the company, but always
company. Remember, one of Talk to every representative respect the rules of
the most important things is There is usually more than one engagement. There is a limit to
the culture fit. You want to be company representative so the amount of time you can
interviewing the company as make sure to reach out to each spend with the recruiter before
much as the company is one. The first time you go to she gets bored of you.
interviewing you. If you can’t the company table, speak to
#6 Focusing only on the job
Students feel that they need to show that they are super professional during the interview. They
accomplish this professional demeanor by steering the interview into a question then answer, question
then answer format. Students are also afraid to ask the interviewer anything about her personal life
because they don’t want to be intrusive.
At the career events, everyone is asking the company representatives the same questions: “What is your
typical day like?” or “What does your company do?” Students feel that they need to show their eagerness
for the company by bombarding the representative with questions about the company. Both of these
strategies are fundamentally wrong.
Interviewers are people too
Treat the interviewer like they are just any other answer a question with a story about your
person. Initiate and push for a conversation fraternity, quickly transition the conclusion of
rather than a Q&A session. The true way to make your story by asking him if he ever pledged and
a connection with the company representative or crossed into a fraternity. There is always a way to
interviewer is to get them to talk about their transition into a conversation.
personal lives and interests. A great way to find
common interests with the interviewer is when Speak from the heart
they ask you to tell them about yourself. Always
throw in your Goodies, which are your interests I was at a recruiting event when a young student
and passions. If you find that you two share a came up to me to ask me about my company. She
similar interest, quickly build upon it and turn it pulled out a notebook from her back pocket and
into a conversation. began reading me a list of questions and started
jotting down notes on her notepad! She came off
Take a chance completely cold and impersonal. She didn’t want
Most students are too nervous to ask the company to get to know me as a person; she just wanted
representative about her personal life. They feel information that she could use to her advantage.
that it might be too intrusive and unprofessional. Recruiters do not like being interrogated by a list
The truth is people LOVE to talk about themselves of questions. They want to genuinely speak to a
and LOVE to talk to people with similar interests. person and have a conversation.
Take a chance and put yourself out there. If you
#5 Tense and low energy
Recruiting is tough. You will spend countless hours writing emails, going to career events, and will go
through at least 30 interviews if you’ve recruited well. Fatigue is the enemy of a student. When you’re
tired, your face will show it. When you’re exhausted, you’ll want to let everyone around feel your pain.
When people ask you how your day has gone, you’ll reply with, “just very tired because of recruiting and
Everything is always positive when speaking to a company representative
Absolutely everything is Always Smile: Smile at the energetic and bring up your
positive. If an interviewer asks career fairs, info sessions, and level of enthusiasm during your
you how your day is going, you during the interview. If you’re interview. Remember, emotions
should respond with “My day is on a phone interview, then are much stronger than words.
going amazing!” The company smile with your voice. If they feel your enthusiasm,
wants to know: they will remember liking you
Students often get stressed during the interview and you’ll
• Are you someone that I throughout the interview have a great chance to move on
could see myself sitting season and their faces become to second rounds or to get the
next to on a 5 hour flight? very tense. Wearing a tense offer.
• When it’s crunch time and face instantly starts the
deadlines are due, will interview on a low level and We will stress this time and
you panic and bring a low the interviewer will remember time again. People who get
energy to the team that she felt awkward and jobs smile; people who don’t
because you’re frustrated bored during your interview. get jobs do not smile. Smiling
or do you rise up to the Smiling is an easy way to force creates a positive emotional
occasion and infuse your yourself to break your tense feeling and makes you more
team with energy? demeanor and start the approachable. If you constantly
• How well can you deal interview off on a high level. have a positive attitude, then
with your emotions and companies will feel comfortable
stress level? Be Enthusiastic: If you don’t putting you in front of their
• Do you leave your make your interview stories clients because of your warm
personal life outside the sound entertaining, then the and friendly feel.
door or do you bring it in interviewer will find it boring
with you into the office? and she’ll begin to doze off. Be
#4 Rambling during your interview
You only have 45 minutes to sit down with your interviewer and impress them. Aside from not answering
the question, rambling on and on about your experiences is the worst thing you can do during an
interview answer. Your answers should be concise, short, and straight to do the point. Every word you
say should show why you’re an excellent candidate.
Saying more does not necessarily mean you know more
As you become more confident with answering questions, you’ll speak more fluidly and you’ll have much
more to say. This in turn leads you to talk faster and say more to show that you are very knowledgeable.
Remember, the interviewer will remember how he FELT during the interview
NOT what you said during the interview.
If you speak very fast and ramble with your because you want the interviewer to think that
answers, the interviewer will remember feeling you really do know what you’re talking about.
confused during your interview. You must control The truth is, interviewers appreciate it when you
the tempo and pace of your voice so that he feels sit back for five seconds, gather your thoughts,
that you are confident and that you know what and give them a clear and well structured answer.
you’re talking about.
General interview structure:
Tips to help you not ramble: 1. Set up the situation in detail
• Keep your answers around 2-4 minutes long • Interviewers want to know the exact
so that he remembers what you actually say details of your story because it shows that
• Emphasize key points during your story so you are detail oriented and that you are
that he feels what parts are important and telling the truth. Set up the situation with
what parts you created the greatest impact the time frame, position, and project goal.
• Speak with a lower tone of voice and slow 2. Finish your interview answer with what you
down your speech learned from your experience
• It is always good to tell the interviewer
Structure, structure, and structure how good you were at your past
The number one reason we ramble during our internship; it is even better to show what
interview answers is that we don’t structure our you learned and how you now apply your
answers correctly. Your natural reaction is to new knowledge to projects.
start blurting out an answer as quickly as possible
#3 The Late Follow Up
You managed to establish a connection with the interviewer. You did the opposite of what everyone else
was doing and found that you two have similar interests. You spoke about how you both want to travel to
South Africa some day and open up your own business. The Perfect Connection!
You get home and you’re tired. “I’ve had a long day of interviewing and I deserve some rest” is what you
say. You wake up the next morning and go to class, do some homework, and get ready for some more
interviews. Finally that evening you decide to send out some thank you emails. You send out a nice
general thank you email to all of your interviewers and call it a night.
There’s one big problem. The interviewer no longer remembers you.
It has been over 24 hours since you guys met and Make the interviewer feel important
now the connection is lost. When she opened her If you go home and immediately send her a
inbox the morning after your interview you were sincere email, it shows that you felt your time
not there, so the connection you guys made faded with the interviewer was very valuable and that
away. she deserves to be recognized for it
The email should be received the morning after Follow through with your connection
The interviewers that you met have short-term
memory. They meet so many people that it is It is pointless to send a generic thank you email.
difficult to remember the names and faces of The follow-up email is the Ping that is the
every single student. They need to be reminded invitation for the Pong. What you need to do is
of your connection as soon as possible. We all are reaffirm the connection that you guys made. If
extremely fatigued during the interview season, you talked about your interests in traveling, send
but make it a habit to always send out your emails her a link to an amazing place that you’ve been to.
the moment you get home. Sending a prompt If you guys talked about your love for sports,
email shows passion for the company. You truly send him a link to a highlight reel on Youtube.
want to work for this company so you don’t get Your email should create an incentive for the
lazy at any point during the recruitment process. interviewer to write back to you or should set up
a phone call or coffee meeting.
YES, professionals will take the time to meet with you IF you make a sincere connection.
#2 Going Through Recruitment Solo
During the interviewing season, our friends turn into enemies, and we hide ourselves from the world so
that no one knows who we’re interviewing with. We feel that everyone who is interviewing with the
same company is a competitor, and if we help them with their interviewing then that means they could
get the job over us. Does this sound familiar to you?
INTERVIEWING IS A TEAM SPORT!
My friends Josh and Ben When practicing with your fun and you instantly have
studied together for about 40 buddy, make sure she judges someone to fall back on if you
hours a week for two weeks you on the following criteria: can’t find anyone new to talk
straight in order to prepare • Do you clearly and to. If you find yourself
themselves for the case concisely tell an wandering by yourself, go meet
interview. You know what, it entertaining story with up with your buddy and she can
paid off. Josh is currently a your answers introduce you to the person
consultant at LEK and Ben is a • Do you effectively use that she is talking to.
consultant at Bain. You must both hands to compliment
find a buddy who you can your story Having a buddy around at the
practice interviewing with who • Do you actively engage career events also lets you
can give you honest and the interviewer with your meet more people much easier.
constructive feedback. eye contact and body You can take half of the tables
language in the room and your friend can
Buddies can see what you can’t • Do you keep “Umms” and take the other half. Then you
When you practice interviewing “Likes” to a minimum guys can introduce each other
with your buddy, make sure to the recruiters and company
she watches your body Go to Events with you Buddy representatives that you met so
language as well as the content Going to career fairs and info that you instantly get past the
of your words. I have seen sessions can be intimidating at cold introduction. Making
people who bobble their heads times. This is where your introductions also shows that
when they answer a question interviewing buddy comes in you’re a friendly person and
and they don’t notice that handy. Going to career fairs are not selfish; it shows that
they’re doing it until I point it and info sessions with a friend you will go above and beyond
out to them. makes the event much more to help a team member out.
#1 Silently Standing in Line
Remember the last time you went to a recruiting event? Chances are you found yourself standing behind
the Recruiter Hog. However, being the Recruiter Hog is not the number one mistake students make. The
number one mistake that students make is to stand silently in line to wait to talk to the recruiter.
Waiting in line is a big waste of time!
During my recruitment season, I went to every recruiting event and met absolutely everyone. During a
particular career fair, I approached a firm with a big line and started chatting to some of the students
waiting in line. As we were chatting, one of the firm’s representatives shouted my name to catch my
attention and motioned for me to come to the front of the line. Just like that, I moved from the back of
the line immediately to the front and took the person who I was talking to with me. The company
representative pulled me to the front of the line because we had previously met and she wanted to
introduce me to her colleague. I introduced my new friend who I met in line and we instantly engaged in
an intimate conversation. I not only made a connection with a new professional, but I also made a new
and very grateful friend who I introduced to two company representatives.
Standing silently in line does two things Rejoice that recruiter hogs exist. They annoy
recruiters with commonly asked questions that
1. It lowers your value: People want to be around recruiters get bombarded with time and time
people who are liked. Think about it, you naturally again. This is a good thing for you because you
want to be around people who are popular. This will be the person that brightens up their day.
same rule applies during recruitment events. You will be the passionate and confident student
Recruiters will notice and want to talk to you if who is interested in getting to know the recruiter
everyone is talking to you. as a person.
2. You miss out on making some great connection: Suck it up and do it.
Everyone at a recruitment event is worth meeting. The number one fear in society is public speaking.
You can potentially find someone who you can Well, I’m not telling you to go out and make a
practice interviewing with or a great connection speech. I’m telling you to just talk to one person.
into a company. Standing in line is the perfect Lean over and ask the person next to you, “So
time to look over at the person next to you and how is recruitment treating you?” Trust me, it
initiate a conversation. works like a charm.
These new rules will get you your dream job!
Thank you very much for reading my Ebook. Go out there and try these
strategies out for yourself. Remember, recruiting is a team sport, so
please share this Ebook with all of your friends so that you can practice
Here are some more tips and strategies that you can use throughout your
interviewing season. Enjoy!
More Ebooks by Jun Loayza:
Making Yourself Stick
Optimize Your Resume
The New Rules of Interviewing: A Walk-through for
Your First Interview
About the Author
Jun Loayza is the Cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer
of Future Delivery where he is building FD World – a
virtual world that makes this world more productive.
Think of it as the fusion between Second Life, Facebook,
He is also building FD Career, which is a user-generated,
user-friendly version of vault.com. FD Career is the go to
place for personal and professional development.
Jun grew up in Orange County California and graduated
from the University of California Los Angeles with a
degree in Economics and Philosophy. He founded Bruin
Consulting – UCLA’s first consulting focused organization
– and established UCLA’s first Undergraduate Case
Competition. Jun was also the Founder and Chief
Executive Officer of The Veridical Group – a small
business consulting firm based in Los Angeles. Jun was a
consultant at Navigant Consulting and is a brother of the
International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi.
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