A CEO and former Googler explains the 2 worst interview mistakes young people make

Liz Wessel WayUpLiz WesselDon’t blow it. WayUp CEO Liz Wessel is pictured.

When it comes to job interviews, there’s plenty that can go wrong. That goes double for college students, recent grads, or anyone who’s just starting out.

WayUp CEO Liz Wessel, who spent two years at Google before founding a startup dedicated to matching college students and recent grads with entry-level jobs, broke down two common mistakes she sees young people make.

1. Neglecting to follow up

“I was with a Google HR person recently 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,” the 26-year-old CEO told Business Insider in a Facebook Live interview.

Don’t worry about coming on too strong. You want the interviewer to see that enthusiasm.

“Most people don’t realise that they should follow up as soon as possible,” Wessel said. “This a tip that people don’t talk about often. Very commonly, an interviewer is going to have a score card where they’re writing their feedback about the interviewee when the interview’s done. You should follow up as soon as soon after as possible. I would say as soon as you can. Don’t wait ’til the next day because you’re nervous about seeming too desperate.”

So make certain to shoot your interviewer a thank you email that day (handwritten notes take far too long). Not sure what you should write?

Wessel broke down a solid sample thank you note:

  • Thank the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you.
  • Consider listing a few things that you learned, or highlight one of the topics you discussed.
  • If you want to get fancy, throw in a book recommendation.
  • All in all, keep it short, sweet, and grateful.

“It’s thanking them in a personal way, as opposed to a copy and paste that you send to each person,” Wessel said.

2. Failing to ask questions

“Commonly, college students will do either a lot of research or they do no research or maybe they’re just nervous and don’t think they need to ask any questions,” Wessel said. “Companies will reject you if you don’t ask questions. I know it sounds insane and brutal, but it’s actually true. I have many friends whose companies will just flat out reject you.”

Asking questions is also hugely beneficial for the interviewee. Sure, you’ve already done a ton of research, but it’s great to get an insider perspective, as well.

“I’m saying ask questions at the end, but not questions that are similar to, ‘So when do I start?’ or ‘What’s the salary’? I’m talking about questions like, ‘What makes a rock star at rock star at your company?’ I like when people ask me things like, ‘How do you spend your day to day’?”

So don’t forget to come into every job interview with a list of potential questions.

Watch the full Facebook Live:

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