Organizational Development

Crash and burn: Biggest interview blunders

InterviewWe've all been there: The interview's over and we're taking that long, lonely walk back to the car, confident in the fact that we've completely blown our chances of landing that dream job.

What went wrong?

This article from has some ideas, and in an age when CPAs and finance professionals are in greater demand than ever, the timing couldn't be better. Author Maria Leone covers all the essentials, from the no-brainers (dress professionally, offer a firm handshake, make eye contact) to some of the practices that separate the winners from the losers. They include:

  • Perfecting your elevator speech: Summarize your career, qualifications and future plans, and do it quickly -- two minutes, tops. A well-planned pitch will open the door for more questions and give-and-take with the interviewer. "The flip side," writes Leone, "is that a poor two-minute drill can be costly."
  • Ask questions. "Too few questions may suggest to an interviewer that a candidate is unengaged and uninterested in the job," Leone writes. "An uninformed question can stop things short, however, so ... work up queries from the annual reports of public companies, and press releases and news reports of private ones."
  • Be prepared for questions about your resume -- "the easy ones as well as the tough ones," Leone advises. "Everyone has weaknesses, but how you discuss shortcomings could turn them into strengths."

Read more advice here, then tell us: What's the biggest mistake you've ever made (or heard a candidate make) in an interview?


Bill Sheridan