- Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters
• Interviews can be pretty stressful occasions.
• Recruiters at top companies like Google, JP Morgan, and Apple are on the lookout for certain deal-breaking errors candidates make.
• Some pitfalls include being too vague, a lack of wittiness, and forgetting to follow up.
Interviews often feel like high-stakes, stressful situations.
And that goes double if you’re interviewing at some of the biggest companies out there today.
You can boost your chances by remaining calm and doing your homework beforehand. You can also read up on some firsthand advice that people who used to work at Google, Goldman Sachs, Apple, and JP Morgan shared with Business Insider.
Here are some major mistakes that will ruin your chances of landing a job at some of the most talked-about companies out there:
Be specific about why you want to work for Google
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It’s not enough to just claim you want to work at Google. If you want to land a job at the tech giant, you’re going to have to be specific.
“It’s important to know what you are passionate about,” Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer previously told Business Insider. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, I want to work at Google’ – but I’ve heard some people say that.”
So make sure you do your research and effectively pinpoint the teams and projects you’re most interested in.
“Being able to sort of articulate, ‘Well, here’s what I’m really passionate about, and here’s what I want to work on,’ is really important,” Lockheimer said. “Just make sure you make your preferences known so you’re routed to the right team.”
At Jet.com, there’s no “I” in “team”
- Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider
Don’t make the job interview all about yourself.
“People who only use the pronoun ‘I’ in interviews are a washout for us,” Liza Landsman, president of ecommerce site Jet.com, previously told Business Insider. “There are very few tech-centered organizations that don’t require a high degree of collaboration.”
Instead, focus more on addressing how your experiences align with the company’s values.
Think up questions to ask recruiters at Apple and Intuit
- Jack Taylor / Stringer
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but a lack of curiosity will certainly kill your job prospects at Apple and Intuit.
“The worst thing you can do in an interview is say, ‘I have no questions,'” Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at recruiting software company Jobvite, previously told Business Insider. “That’s just the worst thing in the world. That’s like the kiss of death, almost. You don’t care.”
Bitte was previously a recruiter and HR exec at Intuit and Apple. She said it’s important to come into the interview with some questions, if only to show that you’re taking the company seriously.
“Show me that you have some enthusiasm or some passion,” Bitte said. “Have a real curiosity about what a job at the company is really like.”
Have a joke up your sleeve if you interview at JP Morgan
- REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
If you’re unable to think on your feet, you won’t stand a chance in some job interviews.
I learned this firsthand when I bombed one interview for a JP Morgan internship. An interviewer asked me to tell him a joke, and I simply couldn’t think of anything to say. It was pretty awkward, and I did not get the internship offer.
So loosen up and have some self-confidence going into any interview. Some companies are actively looking for candidates who can think on their feet.
And make sure to have a joke on hand, just in case.
Research all of Google’s products
If you want to work at Google, learn everything you can about their products.
It’s a lesson former JP Morgan banker Sameer Syed learned the hard way. When he was searching for his first tech gig, the Wall Street to Silicon Alley founder says he made the mistake of almost exclusively talking about his financial background during interviews.
“They’re not interested in all that,” he previously told Business Insider. “Here it’s like you need to research the hell out of the company. Understand the competitors. Understand where the industry’s going. Understand why someone would want to be a part of this company.”
And at Google, make sure you do your homework.
“Google has so many products,” he previously told Business Insider. “That was the biggest struggle for me. If you get a question about a product and you know nothing about it, you’re going to fall flat on your face.”
Syed made it work and now is in strategic partnerships at Google.
Don’t try too hard at Goldman Sachs
- Reuters/ Lucas Jackson
Solemates cofounder and former Goldman Sachs recruiter Becca Brown has some counterintuitive advice for prospective bankers.
Stop trying so hard.
“It’s a common mistake – and it’s tricky – because as a candidate, you want to impress the interviewer, and show that you’ve done your homework, but sometimes that can come across as a little too overdone, or worse, rehearsed,” she previously told Business Insider. “Information that a candidate conveys during an interview should be presented in a conversational way, not in a robotic way.”
Try to loosen up and put your stress aside. And definitely don’t channel your nerves into trying so hard to impress your interviewer.
Make sure to follow up with your Google recruiter
- Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WayUp CEO Liz Wessel spent two years at Google before founding her startup. From her time at the tech giant, she gained some major insight on a huge tactical error tons of job candidates fall into.
“I was with a Google HR person recently and and she was telling me that one of the most common [mistakes] that college students make is actually that if you don’t follow up,” Wessel previously told Business Insider. “Most people don’t realize that they should follow up as soon as possible… Don’t wait ’til the next day because you’re nervous about seeming too desperate.”
Don’t worry about coming on too strong. You want the interviewer to see that enthusiasm.