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

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 realize 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.

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22 things that make you sound rude in a job interview
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22 things that make you sound rude in a job interview
You are totally justified in being annoyed that your interviewer kept you waiting. That being said, you get no brownie points for grumbling.

Yes, it's a bit of a double standard that the interviewee typically can't be late while the interviewer can get away with it. But the interviewer is typically the one with the power, so just get over it.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the job interview — even if that means showing up super early and waiting around at a nearby Starbucks.

And if you are late, don't draw attention to it or make excuses. Quickly apologize and move on.

This doesn't necessarily make you sound rude, per se. It's a weird question, though. Your interviewer may just assume that you're impolite and unable to work with others.

Never ask the interviewer any personal questions.

You should never bring gossip into a job interview. It's highly unprofessional.

You are totally justified in being annoyed that your interviewer kept you waiting. That being said, you get no brownie points for grumbling.
You didn't care enough about the job to run a quick Google search? Questions like this will make you look unprepared and inconsiderate.
Yes, you do. Claiming not to have shortcomings just makes you come across as arrogant.

Hold off on the profanities. Curse words will make you sound vulgar and unprofessional.

This one puts the interviewer on the spot. If you really want feedback, wait until you get the offer or rejection, and then ask in an email what you did well or could have done better.
It's great if you're coming to the table with a lot of ideas on how to improve the organization. Try to keep your language positive, though, or your interviewer may wonder why you're even interviewing in the first place.
Are you kidding me?

Seriously, contain your enthusiasm. This may be true, but definitely don't admit it to your interviewer.

Don't just barge in and start talking. You may be nervous and eager to get it over with, but remember to introduce yourself first.
What have you got, a date or something? Try to keep your schedule relatively uncluttered on the day of the interview.
If the interviewer offers, then it's fine to ask for a beverage. Just don't forget to say "please" and "thank you." In fact, you should show off that you have good manners when you can during the interview.
Yes, job interviews are all about discussing yourself and your abilities. That being said, you want to keep the focus on how you can help the organization. The conversation should always go back to that main thesis.
You're here as a job candidate, not as a super-critical interior decorator. Don't imply that you're disappointed or underwhelmed.
You really don't want to say anything that could be considered condescending to the person standing between you and a potential job.
Keep politics out of conversations with your interviewer. If they bring it up first, then do what you can to change the conversation.
This one's a toss-up. Some people are totally cool with being called things like "guys" or "ladies." Others get really irked. It's probably better to err on the side of caution here, lest you come off as belittling or disrespectful.
If you start talking about the nitty gritty details of your new job, make sure to avoid coming across like you think you know better than anyone else. Criticizing the company's way of doing this is a surefire way to alienate your interviewer.

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