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Message from Robin

Are you ready to interview live, face-to-face, in an employer’s office?

I am seeing more employers having the final interview in their offices rather than online. HR and hiring managers are telling me that people often make avoidable mistakes when interviewing in person which resulted in the person not getting a job offer.

Read my article below, just published in Forbes, to learn about strategies for avoiding 7 common mistakes during your next in-office interview.


Employers Are Restarting In-Person Job Interviews: 7 Mistakes To Avoid

While my career counseling client Robert sailed through his first two online interviews, he expected the last one to be the same. It wasn’t. “I’m kind of shocked,” he said. “The employer just told me my final interview is in person. I haven’t done that in six years, and I’m worried about how I’ll come across.”

Robert discovered what many job hunters are now experiencing, and it’s a significant change in the hiring process. Many employers now conduct final interviews in their offices when the positions are onsite or hybrid.

If you are surprised by this change, you should also worry about how you will handle the in-person interview. How will your professional demeanor and presentation come across? Will you impress the employer and have them select you for the job? As we move away from the monitor and desk where you can have lots of notes and a resume displayed to help you nail the answers, now you must go and talk face-to-face with no help from any cheat sheet.

Will you make a mistake? The HR and hiring managers I’ve talked to say that people are losing that position because they are making some avoidable errors. Several hiring decision-makers mentioned they were concerned that the candidates had forgotten how to conduct themselves in live meetings, seeing customers, and interacting with team members.

So, say goodbye to the Zoom interview sitting in sweatpants since no one sees anything below the desk. Here are some crucial interview pitfalls you must avoid when you meet the hiring team at their office.

Not controlling the opening.

This is a critical time when you must market yourself effectively and quickly capture the employer’s attention. So, your answer to the typical first question, “Tell us about yourself,” must showcase why you are the right person for the job.

Develop an answer defining your five top selling points to demonstrate your key strengths, credentials, and accomplishments. Be concise and practice your answer so it is smooth and will get the employer to focus on you and what you bring to the roles. For an example of how to create this and what to say, read my article first published in Forbes: Best Way to Open An Interview To Secure A Job Offer.

Job candidates report that these are always the most difficult. Your answer requires a work example when the question begins, Tell us about…, Give us an example…, Describe a time… etcYou won’t do well if you just wing this.

Work examples require thought and practice. A common mistake is launching into the story without covering the basics, which will confuse the employer. Paint a clear picture from start to finish. Ensure the beginning defines who this is about, where it is, the circumstances and the problem, what you did, and note the outcome. Be sure the example shows you in the best possible light.

Many people will sit through the interview without clearly telling the employer what skills they’d bring to the job. They don’t emphasize the results they have delivered to past employers. They’re quiet; their answers may be very general or very vague.

Employers don’t hire for vague generalities. They hire for specifics – and results. Specific skills, experience, and good examples of how you have successfully done that kind of work before. Specifics are what employers use to make decisions on who to hire. Know what you are best at. Offer details about the results you have achieved in the past to assure them you can do the same for them. Be succinct and keep the story brief.

Not doing your research.

Many candidates lost out on that job because they appeared clueless about the company and how to meet its needs. You need better preparation. The more inside information you can get, the more accurately you can phrase your answers to say that you are the best person to hire.

Get as much insight as possible into the job and the company. When you first speak to the recruiter, take notes. Review the company’s website. What do they do? Are there details on new projects or new products coming out? Are they in the news? What is morale like? Try to uncover current problems the company is facing. Be wary of companies who are going through layoffs. Learn as much as you can about that job.

Talk to your network to get some insider information. Look up the recruiter and hiring manager on LinkedIn. Connect with them. All this background will enable you to explain more effectively how you can do the job, demonstrate your interest in the company and the position, and impress the employer.

Making a poor presentation.

Most people no longer think about their appearance. They don’t realize the importance of those first few seconds when they meet the employer for the first time. The employer will check out your appearance from head to toe. Be aware that the employer often makes an immediate decision based on whether you would be an appropriate person to represent the company.

It’s time to leave the casual look at home. Dress up. Select – or buy – a professional outfit. While only lawyers and Wall Street bankers may need to wear a suit, you must show you still know what business casual means in the office. Demonstrate your business savvy and professional appearance so they are assured you look appropriate to anyone you come in contact with.


Nervousness often makes people ramble on and on when answering a question. Nothing is worse than a candidate who talks for five minutes to answer one question. Instead, be concise – complete your answer in 60 seconds or less. To prepare, write out answers to common questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” or “What are your salary requirements?” Then, edit your responses, create your best answer, and review it so you are comfortable with the response to ensure it’s no longer than a minute.

Failure to inspire confidence.

Interviews are not the time to be humble, meek, or too quiet about your accomplishments. If you don’t demonstrate competency and confidence that you can do the job, the employer will recognize that you probably can’t do the job. Eye contact, a smile, and some enthusiasm in your voice are essential. Express genuine interest in the job and working for that employer. Remember to mention people’s names when appropriate, especially as you say goodbye.

This article was originally published in Forbes

More Articles of Interest

If you found today’s featured article to be helpful, here are related articles by Robin to read (if you have not already done so).

Avoid These Job Interview Mistakes That Turn Employers Off — Are you underestimating how challenging online job interviewing is? Tim was. In the last year, this over 50-year-old had gone on 10 executive-level interviews and… READ MORE »

Common Zoom Job Interview Mistakes To Avoid — Many over 50-year-olds have decided to start a job search. Unfortunately, some of them have not had an interview in years. Because they… READ MORE »

Interview Coaching

You’ve found a job opening — or maybe the employer found you.  The job is promising.  You’ve sent your resume.  Now you’ve been invited to interview.

Are you ready?  

On average 80% of interviewees fail to land the job.  Many times, the first 5 minutes make or break your chances.  

You need to be ready to make the right first impression.  You need to concisely answer hard questions about situations, technical skills, and who you are.  You need to open and close strongly.  

Robin is just the person to get you ready.

She wrote a #1 bestseller book on how to interview, “60 Seconds & You’re Hired!” She’s interview coached over 3100 job seekers.  She’ll role play with you and get you prepared for tough, tricky questions.  She’ll offer hiring insights and strategies that make you stand out as the candidate to hire. She’ll guide you on salary negotiations.

To learn more, visit Robin’s Interview Coaching page for details and pricing.

About Robin Ryan

The Los Angeles Times calls Robin Ryan “America’s Top Career Expert.” 

Helping her audiences, readers, and clients succeed in their career aspirations is Robin’s passion.

She’s appeared on over 3200 TV and Radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and NPR. Her advice has been seen on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, Forbes, and Money, just to name a few. She is a columnist for

Robin has had over 30 years of direct hiring experience and has an extensive HR background. HR Weekly named Robin Ryan as one of The 100 Most Influential People In HR for 2021.

A popular trainer and speaker, Robin’s high-energy style has had her in front of over 1200 audiences including for conferences, associations, employee groups, and college campuses.

A #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Robin’s career books include:

  • 60 Seconds & You’re Hired!
  • Over 40 & You’re Hired!
  • Winning Cover Letters
  • Soaring on Your Strengths
  • Winning Resumes

In addition to media appearances, speaking, writing bestselling books, and being a columnist, Robin offers career and job search services to clients nationwide including resume writingLinkedIn writinginterview coachingjob search coachingsalary negotiation, and career coaching for new college graduates.

Contact and Follow Robin      425.226.0414

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