Photo by Francisco De Legarreta C. on Unsplash

5 Interview Mistakes You’re Probably Making

From Blah to Bravo: Mastering the Art of the Interview

Shailesh Sharma
6 min readJun 6, 2024


Landing an interview is a victory lap, a sign you’ve impressed recruiters with your skills and experience. But the finish line is still a ways off. Many talented candidates stumble at the final hurdle, perplexing interviewers and their dream job slipping through their fingers.

The good news? Most interview blunders are avoidable.

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Failing to Leverage the STAR Method

Imagine an interview answer that’s a flat, emotionless list of your duties. Now, picture a story that paints a vivid picture of a challenge, the actions you took (using specific details!), the positive outcome, and the skills you showcased.

That’s the power of the STAR Method. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. By structuring your responses using STAR, you transform dry descriptions into compelling narratives that highlight your problem-solving prowess, initiative, and impact.

Here’s why STAR is so crucial:

  • Engages the Interviewer: Stories are captivating. STAR helps you move beyond robotic answers and connect with the interviewer on a human level.
  • Demonstrates Skills: Vague statements about your abilities are unconvincing. STAR lets you showcase specific skills used in real-world scenarios.
  • Quantifies Achievements: Numbers add weight to your claims. With STAR, you can quantify the results of your actions, making your impact undeniable.

Crafting a Stellar STAR Response:

  • Set the Scene: Briefly describe the situation you faced. Was it a project deadline looming, a disgruntled client, or an internal conflict?
  • Define Your Task: What was your specific responsibility within the situation?
  • Detail Your Actions: Here’s where you shine! Describe the specific steps you took to address the challenge. Quantify your actions whenever possible.
  • Highlight the Results: What was the positive outcome of your actions? Did you exceed expectations? Did you resolve a conflict? Use numbers to showcase impact.

By weaving the STAR method into your responses, you transform yourself from a resume on legs into a dynamic problem-solver with a proven track record.

Failing to Follow Up After the Interview

The interview is over, you’re drained but exhilarated. Mission accomplished, right? Wrong. A well-crafted follow-up email is an often-overlooked opportunity to solidify your candidacy.

Here’s why following up is crucial:

  • Reiterates Your Interest: A follow-up email reiterates your enthusiasm for the position. It shows you’re genuinely interested and not just fishing for opportunities.
  • Demonstrates Professionalism: Following up showcases your professionalism and courtesy. It leaves a positive lasting impression on the interviewer.
  • Opportunity to Clarify or Expand: Did you forget to mention a relevant skill or project? A follow-up email allows you to politely add any missing pieces to your application puzzle.

Crafting a Compelling Follow-Up Email:

  • Timing is Key: Aim to send your email within 24 hours of the interview.
  • Express Gratitude: Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.
  • Reiterate Your Interest: Briefly express your continued enthusiasm for the opportunity.
  • Highlight Key Points (Optional): Briefly mention a specific point discussed in the interview that further strengthens your candidacy.
  • Close Professionally: Thank the interviewer again and reiterate your availability for further discussion.

Failing to Ask Insightful Questions

The interview isn’t a one-way street. It’s a chance for you to assess the company culture, the role itself, and whether it aligns with your career goals. Sitting silently through the interview might seem polite, but it projects a lack of interest or initiative.

Here’s why asking questions is crucial:

  • Demonstrates Curiosity and Engagement: Thoughtful questions show genuine interest in the role and the company. It portrays you as someone who goes beyond the surface level.
  • Gathers Valuable Information: Interviews are a two-way street. Asking questions helps you understand the day-to-day realities of the role and the company culture.
  • Highlights Your Fit: Well-crafted questions can subtly showcase your skills and how you’d contribute to the team.

Crafting Powerful Interview Questions:

  • Go Beyond the Basics: Avoid questions easily answered through the company website or job description.
  • Focus on the Role and Team: Ask questions about specific challenges the team faces, typical projects, and opportunities for professional development.
  • Demonstrate Strategic Thinking: Ask questions that showcase your understanding of the industry and the company’s goals.

Failing to Project Confidence

Nonverbal communication speaks volumes. Slouching, fidgeting, or making poor eye contact can project disinterest, nervousness, or even arrogance.

Here’s why strong body language matters:

  • First Impressions Matter: Nonverbal cues make a powerful first impression. Confident body language portrays you as professional, capable, and someone who would be a valuable asset to the team.
  • Projects Enthusiasm: Strong eye contact, a firm handshake, and an engaged posture show genuine enthusiasm for the opportunity.
  • Builds Rapport: Confident body language fosters a sense of trust and connection with the interviewer.

Body Language Tips for Interview Success:

  • Maintain Eye Contact: Make eye contact throughout the interview, but avoid staring intensely.
  • Project Positivity: Smile genuinely and use open, inviting body language. Avoid crossing your arms or looking closed off.
  • Mind Your Posture: Sit up straight, with your shoulders relaxed. This projects confidence and attentiveness.

Ignoring Interview Protocol

Interviews have unspoken rules of etiquette. Violating these social norms can create a negative impression, even if your skills are a perfect fit.

Here’s why interview etiquette matters:

  • Professionalism is Key: Following interview etiquette showcases professionalism and respect for the interviewer’s time.
  • Makes a Positive First Impression: Proper etiquette creates a positive first impression and sets the tone for a productive conversation.
  • Shows Respect for the Company: It demonstrates that you understand and respect the company’s culture and values.

Interview Etiquette Tips:

  • Arrive Early: Punctuality is essential. Aim to arrive 10–15 minutes early.
  • Dress Professionally: Dress appropriately for the company culture. When in doubt, err on the side of formality.
  • Turn Off Your Phone: Silence your phone and avoid checking it during the interview.
  • Maintain Professional Communication: Use a polite and professional tone throughout the interview.

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25 Common Job Interview Questions with Solution

  1. Question 1: Tell me about yourself.
  2. Question 2: What are your strengths?
  3. Question 3: What is your weakness?
  4. Question 4: Why should we hire you?
  5. Question 5: Why do you want to join this company?
  6. Question 6: Tell me about a time you showed leadership.
  7. Question 7: Tell me about a time you were successful on a team.
  8. Question 8: What would your co-workers say about you?
  9. Question 9: Why do you want to leave your current role?
  10. Question 10: Describe your most challenging project.
  11. Question 11: Tell me about something you’ve accomplished that you are proud of.
  12. Question 12: What are your salary expectations?
  13. Question 13: Tell me about a time you managed conflicting priorities.
  14. Question 14: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  15. Question 15: Tell me about a time you failed or made a mistake.
  16. Question 16: Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult person.
  17. Question 17: Tell me about a time you handled pressure.
  18. Question 18: Tell me about a time you had to learn something quickly.
  19. Question 19: Can you explain the gap in your resume?
  20. Question 20: Tell me about a time you surpassed people’s expectations.
  21. Question 21: What do you like to do outside of work?
  22. Question 22: What are you looking for in your next job?
  23. Question 23: Tell Me about a time you had to persuade someone.
  24. Question 24: Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager.
  25. Question 25: Tell me about a time when you had to decide without data.

Top RCA Question Asked in Product Management Interview

  1. YouTube buffering has increased by 10%. How would you go about this?
  2. YouTube Watch Time is down by 5%. How would you go about this?
  3. The number of Trips on Uber has reduced by 10%. How would you go about this?
  4. Open Rate of Amazon Notifications was down by 20%. How would you go about this?
  5. Engagement on Netflix is down by 5%, How would you go about this?
  6. The response rate of LinkedIn Messages is Down by 5%, How would you go about this?
  7. Amazon Marketplace Orders are down by 6% Week on Week on the Platform. Diagnose this?
  8. Google Pay has seen a 15% drop in Rewards Redemption on the Platform, Diagnose this?
  9. Zomato has seen a 10% drop in engagement in User Generated Content on the Platform, Diagnose this?