Interviewing is often a fraught exercise. You’re threading the needle between selling yourself and your accomplishments, while also being humble and self-aware. Say too much and you’re unlikeable. Say too little and people wonder if you have the skills.
Interviews are often confusing. You have to sell your achievements while maintaining modesty and self-awareness. If you talk too much, you will not be likable. If you talk too little, people will wonder if you have this ability.
So, want to nail your next interview? Read on for five of the most common mistakes a Facebook HR has seen.
So, do you want to seize the opportunity of the next interview? Read on for the five most common interview mistakes that Facebook Human Resources has seen.
1. Being Unprepared
During an interview for a role on the Facebook Marketplace team:
In an interview for a position on the Facebook Marketplace team:
Interviewer: What are your thoughts on the Marketplace experience?
Interviewer: What is your opinion on the experience of using Marketplace?
Candidate: I’ve never used it.
Candidate: I have never used it.
I would understand if the product were an enterprise service, but this is a consumer product. Buying or selling something on Marketplace takes a short amount of time and money.
If the product is a corporate service, I can understand it, but it is a consumer product. It takes very little time and money to buy or sell items on the Marketplace.
The Lesson: By not bothering to familiarize yourself with the product or the space, the interviewer is left wondering if you even want the job since you didn’t put in the time to test out the experience.
Lesson learned: If you are not familiar with the product or space, the interviewer will wonder if you want the job, because you don’t even take the time to experience it.
2. Appearing Apathetic
During an interview at Facebook for a Product Management role:
During a Facebook product management job interview:
Interviewer: What makes you want to work at Facebook?
Interviewer: Why do you want to work at Facebook?
Candidate: A recruiter reached out to me, so I thought I would come in.
Candidate: A recruiter contacted me, so I think I should come.
The interviewer has invested their energy and passion into the company they are at, and they want to hire someone who has the same commitment and excitement. Hearing you say you don’t really have a particular interest in their company is an instant turn off.
Interviewers put their energy and enthusiasm into their company, and they hope to hire people who are equally responsible and passionate. Hearing you say that you have no particular interest in their company, you may be rejected immediately.
The Lesson: If you are unsure of your interest, say you are excited about the opportunity to learn more rather than give a half-hearted reply.
Lesson learned: If you are not sure about your interests, please say that you are excited about the opportunity to learn more instead of answering half-heartedly.
3. Focusing on the Wrong Things
Interviewer: What are you looking for in your next role?
Interviewer: What do you want to find in the next position?
Candidate: Growing my scope and managing a larger product set.
Candidate: Expand my horizons and manage a larger product set.
Scope and impact go hand in hand. Proving yourself makes it possible for you to grow your influence. Interviewers want to work with someone humble and willing to learn, not someone who sees the job as a stepping stone to something more.
Vision and influence go hand in hand. Proving yourself makes it possible for you to expand your influence. What the interviewer wants is someone who is humble and willing to learn, not someone who sees this job as a stepping stone to higher goals.
The Lesson: Explain how you want to further the company and the team, not just yourself. Show you’re a team player by explaining how you’ve successfully managed projects through to the end.
Lesson learned: Explain how you want to improve the company and team, not just yourself. Show that you are a team player by explaining how you successfully manage a project from start to finish.
4. Lacking Self-Awareness
Lack of self-awareness
During an interview called Leadership + Drive where they test for self-awareness and willingness to take feedback.
In an interview called “Leadership + Execution”, they tested their self-awareness and willingness to receive feedback.
Interviewer: What area do you want to work on? What is your biggest gap?
Interviewer: Which field do you want to work in? What is your biggest gap?
Candidate: I work too hard and care too much.
Candidate: I work too hard and I care too much.
This is not a trick question. What really is your greatest weakness? Couching it in a positive response makes interviewers think you are not self-aware enough to provide an answer, which means you are not open to growth. Our culture at Facebook encourages us to“be open” and we look for people aware of their areas of growth.
This is not a difficult question. What I really want to ask is what is your biggest weakness? A positive answer will make the interviewer think that you do not have enough self-awareness to answer the question, which means that you have not fully revealed your growth history. Our culture on Facebook encourages us to be “open”, and I am looking for people who know where their growth space is.
The Lesson: By sharing what you are working on and what clear, concrete steps you are taking to improve, you will build a connection with the interviewer and humanize your challenges.
Lesson learned: By sharing what you are doing and the clear and specific improvement steps you are taking, you will connect with the interviewer and make your challenges easier to achieve.
5. Selling Rather Than Listening
Promote yourself instead of listening
Interviewer: We have struggled with product market fit on this product for months.
Interviewer: For several months, we have been working hard to adapt to the market demand of the product.
Candidate: That’s easy. I have done it a dozen times before, here’s how.
Candidate: It’s very simple. I have done it many times before, and we should do it…
A strong candidate is a great listener. Asking and learning what meaning is behind the question is important. Show you are intellectually curious and want to adapt new information.
A strong candidate is also a great audience. It is important to ask and understand the meaning behind the question. Show that you are curious and want to receive new information.
The Lesson: When you’re in an interview, listen to the question, but also consider the rationale behind it. The interviewer is asking the question to learn more about your skill set. How you respond says a lot about your ability to not only answer the obvious question, but also your deductive reasoning skills.
Lesson learned: When you are in an interview, listen to the question, but also consider the reasoning behind the question. The interviewer asked this question to learn more about your skills. Your response largely illustrates not only your ability to answer questions on the surface, but also your deductive reasoning ability.