Closing The Gap

The biggest interview mistake young people should avoid, according to a Lyft executive who's hired dozens

10'000 Hours | Getty Images

Lyft's general counsel, Kristin Sverchek, knows what it takes to ace an interview and get hired.

After serving as an outside counsel for Lyft for more than two years, Sverchek was officially hired as a full-time employee in 2012. During her time with the ride-sharing platform, she's seen the company grow from five employees to a team of thousands. In the legal department alone, Sverchek personally grew the team of one (herself) to more than 130 employees.

As someone who has conducted a lot of interviews in her career, Sverchek tells CNBC Make It there is one critical mistake young people should always avoid when looking to get hired.

Lyft's general counsel Kristin Sverchek.
Photo credit: Lyft

"I hate when I ask someone, 'What's your biggest weakness,' and they say something like, 'I'm too diligent,'" she says. "That's not a genuine answer because everybody has a weakness, and there is power in being vulnerable and sharing that weakness."

Sverchek says offering a vague response in an interview can easily place you below your competition. To stand out, offer concrete examples of your experience to illustrate how you're dealing with a problem.

"I'm really looking for somebody who can talk their way through a problem and how they felt it, versus speaking in generalities," she says. "And often it will be a great springboard into different questions around a specific topic."

Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch agrees with Sverchek.

She tells CNBC Make It one of the easiest ways to ace an interview is to turn the meeting into a dynamic conversation where there is room for a back-and-forth discussion. That's why, when asked about your greatest weakness, she suggests interviewees respond by saying something like, "I've always wanted to be a better public speaker. It's not something that comes naturally to me. But I'm actually taking an online class right now to improve."

Afterwards, Welch says, say something like, "I'd love to hear about the kind of public speaking this job involves."

By doing this, she says, you've opened up the floor for a two-way conversation to take place, where you and the interviewer are comfortably asking and answering questions.

"When you approach your interview as a conversation," Welch explains, "you're not just more engaged, you're more engaging. You're more human."

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: This Lyft executive asks a go-to interview question about failure at work — how to answer it

Facebook VP Julie Zhuo: Here's my favorite interview question
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us