Careers At The Resource Group | Common Interview Mistakes

Associate Blog | Common Interview Mistakes

By Andrew Herren, Barbara Zamora, Erika Carlson, & KaLeena Thomas

Interviews can be tough and with only a few moments to make a good impression it is vital you are prepared. In this Life at The Resource Group blog post, a few of our hiring managers break down common interview mistakes and ways to avoid them so you can put your best foot forward. Keep reading to learn more!  

Not Researching the Company

One common interview mistake is going into the interview without doing any prior research. You wouldn't expect a good grade on a test if you didn't study, the same is true of interviews. Click on the drop downs below to learn more from Andrew, one of our senior managers on the benefits of pre-interview research.

  • Why is it important to research organizations prior to the interview?

    I always find that some of the strongest interviewers are individuals who have done their research. For me, those who do their research come off more elevated during the interview process versus someone who does not. For example, those who are not prepared seem to have very little understanding of the goals of the company, they provide vague answers to questions, are unable to relate their experience to the tasks of the role, and they often ask surface level questions of the interviewers when given the opportunity. 

    Those who do complete a bit of research better understand what the organization is looking for and the type of work they will be doing. From this they are able to relate and tailor their experience to the questions that are asked and can respond back with deeper questions which not only make the interview experience more memorable but also allow the interviewee to gain valuable insights from the interviewer.

  • What are some easy ways for an interviewee to conduct research?

    I recommend four very easy steps when researching prior to an interview:


    • Review the ‘what will you do’ section of the job description and cross reference it to your past experience. Begin drawing your connections and the stories you can share to exemplify your ability to succeed in the role. It can also be helpful to review other open positions on the company’s career page to learn a little bit more about other work being done within the company and how this role may collaborate with other teams.
    • Read the website! Company websites can sometimes be fairly surface-level with the information they provide but they allow for a foundational understanding of the work the company is doing and the leadership. For example, our website gives an overview of the Strategic Sourcing solution that briefly describes The Resource Group’s approach to contracting and the roles that support that work. Knowing this can help an interviewee prepare insightful questions.
    • Take an opportunity to review recent press about the company. This can provide insight into the company's current state, public image, and any recent news. Press releases provide details of mergers and acquisitions that signal company growth while articles about the company may highlight struggles that the company is facing. Financial statements and annual reports can also be strong indicators of recent company performance and are typically available online for most organizations. 
    • Check out the company’s social media (LinkedIn), Glassdoor, or other platforms. These sites are a useful tool to assess culture and current state of the organization. Many companies will post about company news and other helpful information. You can also research others who are in the role you are applying for. Reading how they describe the work they do is an added bonus to your interview toolkit as you prepare to put your best foot forward.
  • What should an interviewee consider while doing research?

    When researching a company, I think it is important to first understand the work the company does. What is the core business? Who are its customers? How is the company organized? What teams are there and what work are they doing? This information can typically be found by reviewing other open positions or the company's webpage. 

    Once a candidate has a firm understanding of the company, teams, and structure, I recommend understanding the specific role further. As I mentioned earlier, searching LinkedIn for associates in similar roles can allow an interviewee to see some examples of day-to-day activities in the role, projects the associate was involved in, and career progression opportunities within the company. 

    Finally, I think it is always important to understand the culture of the company to identify if it will be a good fit for the candidate as well as to better tailor questions for the interviewers about what the work life balance will be like in the role. 

Unprepared for Common Interview Questions

Another common interview mistake is not preparing for common interview questions and giving a rushed answer. By preparing for common interview questions interviewees can avoid interview anxiety and make a better impression. Click on the drop downs below to learn more from Erika, one of our managers on the benefits of preparing for common interview questions.

  • What common interview questions should candidates prepare for?

    While there are a number of 'common' interview questions, these are ones I have found to be the most consistently used:

    • Tell me about yourself.
    • How do you prioritize your work?
    • Tell me about a time when you had to admit a mistake at work; what was it and how did you go about resolving the issue?
  • What common interview questions do candidates regularly struggle to answer?
    I have found many interviewees struggle to answer 'tell me about a time...' questions. This most likely comes from a lack of preparation in connecting the dots between the role and past experience. They also can be questions that dive deeper into someone's work style (example: Tell me about a time when you weighed the pros and cons of a decision. How did you discern your decision?) which can often be intimidating if you are not prepared for that level of vulnerability. 
  • How can an interviewee prepare their answers without sounding overly rehearsed?

    Review your own resume, reflect on your past experiences in your professional life (or if this is your first professional experience, reflect on work-like experiences such as group/team work in a college class or volunteer work) and connect them to the role you are applying for. Also think through the following scenarios:

    • Where you were proud of your work or proud of the way you handled a situation
    • When you could have been better and how you would have handled a situation differently
    • How different experiences have shaped your work style/skills

    Reflecting on your past experiences is the best way to bring those memories up to the forefront of your mind and have them to use as examples for some questions and still sound authentic. And remember, a lot of these experiences can be used to answer multiple questions as well which can help drive home a message about your skills and keep the interview form jumping around so much. 

Unorganized Responses

Even the most prepared interviewees forget the crucial step of being organized during their responses. Many times, this leads to the candidate answering the question but forgetting to highlight their unique capabilities. A good response uses a logical flow and showcases a candidate’s value. Click on the drop downs below to learn more from KaLeena, one of our former C-suite executives turned consultant, on the benefits of organized responses.

  • What does a good interview answer convey?
    First and foremost, a good interview answer addresses the question that was posed. While this seems obvious, the presence of stress/nerves, lack of preparation, or inconsistent listening to the question can lead a candidate to an incomplete or unrelated answer to the question. Second, a good answer tells a story that demonstrates the candidate's capabilities, experience, and personality. It takes the listener through the beginning, middle, and end of a past situation, and does so in a way that is easy to follow. Finally, a good interview answer conveys energy and enthusiasm. The candidate shows passion, purpose, and excitement upon reflection of their experiences and the desire to bring those same sentiments to The Resource Group in support of the patients, physicians, caregivers, communities, and associates we serve every day. 
  • What is the 'context, action, result' framework? 

    The 'context, action. result' framework is a best practice method of structuring an interview response. It's similar to the framework for writing a story, where the context serves as the 'exposition' or 'sets the scene' for the listener. It answers questions like: what problem were you facing? Who was involved? Where and when did this occur? Why was it happening?

    Once you've set the scene, it's time to move into the action - what did you do in light of the situation? The actions should focus on your role in the scene and should move in a chronological order until reaching the height of the situation - perhaps finishing a project, resolving a conflict, or signing a contract. 

    From there, focus on the results and close out the story. What specific results came from your actions? What did you learn? In literary terms, this is called the denouement and is defined as "the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved." Just like we want books, plays, and movies to end with an explanation and resolution that answers all our questions, an interviewer wants a clear 'wrap up' to your story. In my experience, this is the section that most candidates overlook and it leaves me with a lot of follow up questions. 

  • How does a framework/response elevate a candidate?
    An organized response from an interview candidate conveys proactive, organized thinking, a skill which is critical in the fast-paced, complex healthcare industry. At The Resource Group, we look for people who are 'Bright', defined as the ability to take something complex and make it simple. Coming to the interview with simple stories that convey complex scenarios is a strong indicator of one's cultural fit. 

Unprofessional Dress

Preparing your verbal communication is crucial for an interview.  Although it may seem counterintuitive, focusing on your nonverbal communication is just as important (if not more important) than your verbal communication, including your appearance. One common interview mistake is looking unprofessional. Click on the drop downs below to learn more from Barbara, one of our directors on the benefits of dressing to impress!

  • What does appearance communicate?
    Appearance communicates desire for the position. A well-thought out business outfit shows a level of caring about the interview, position, and interviewer. 
  • Why does a professional appearance matter in an interview?

    We hear the phrase ‘dress for the position you want’. This is extremely true in interview scenarios. Your appearance is one of the first things an interviewer will see and as such, it can convey a great deal!

    It also tells the interviewer if you are prepared for not only the interview but the position as a whole. Did you do your research and understand the expectations day-to-day? Do you know how you would be expected to show up as a representative of the organization once you get the role? Again, it shows the person interviewing that you are serious about the position and care enough to make a bit of an extra effort.

  • What are general dress expectations of candidates interviewing at The Resource Group?

    This depends on the type and level of role. As stated above, doing your research is extremely important. For higher level roles, manager and above, business professional is an expectation. Entry level roles can fluctuate in expectation, especially because we know many of our entry level roles have high rates of recent graduate applicants who may not have full professional wardrobes.  For these positions, at the least, most of our hiring managers like to see an elevated business casual look. 

    Ultimately, it is nice to see the effort across all areas of the interview process from preparedness for questions to preparedness in dress.