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Interviews can be the most nerve-wracking part of the job search process. Even those skilled in public speaking can still get butterflies, especially when the stakes are high.
The first thing to remember is that even though you were asked to come to an interview, it does not mean the job offer is “in the bag.” Stay humble and avoid the following mistakes that recruiters say are the top reasons candidates bomb an interview.
Not Knowing Answers to Standard Job Interview Questions
In particular, be ready for the “What do you know about us” and “Why do you want to work here” questions, related specifically to this employer and job opportunity. Hiring managers may ask these questions to help figure out how you would fit in with the culture at their company, or to understand your motivations in applying for the job and whether you’re likely to stay in the role for a while.
To prepare yourself for these common questions, research the company you are applying for and really think about why you want the position you are applying for. Remember, saying that you want to work somewhere because of the salary is not the correct answer.
Being Late for the Interview
If possible, do a test run at the approximate time you are supposed to be there, and plan your departure and arrival for the interview accordingly. Consider if there are tolls or fees and what the parking options are.
Recruiters unanimously agree that being late for an interview is DEADLY. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, find an unobtrusive place to hang out until you can officially arrive 5 or 10 minutes before the scheduled interview. Observe what is happening while you wait to learn more about the employer and, perhaps, have additional questions to ask.
Criticizing a Previous Employer
Putting down the company you’re trying to leave or one you’ve worked for in the past gives off the impression you’re a negative person who can’t let go of the past. It also may make people wonder what you’d say about their company if they hire you.
Setting Yourself Up to Fail on Social Media
Social media is part of the process companies use to vet prospective employees these days. Before you walk into an interview, there’s a good chance your prospective employer is looking at your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Google +, and other social media accounts. If they don’t like what they see, your interview may be doomed.
Having Negative Body Language
If you never smile, have a limp handshake, and don’t make eye contact with the people you meet at the employer’s location, and especially with the interviewer, you’ll come across as too shy or too strange or simply not interested. Also, don’t underestimate the influence of the gatekeeper. Many organizations hire receptionists that support the company in many ways. If you don’t treat them with respect, the potential for hire may end before it starts!
Sharing Too Much
Sometimes, you may feel like you really “click” with your interviewer, but don’t let this make you too relaxed. Sharing too much information or “spilling your guts” to a potential employer who just met you is likely to be off-putting no matter how well you two are getting along.
This can drive employers crazy, especially since they likely have more candidates than they need that they have to interview. If you don’t seem interested, then it appears that you are wasting their time. Demonstrate your interest in the company and the job by being familiar with the company, by dressing appropriately and by turning off your cell phone and focusing your attention on the interview and interviewers.
Not Asking Questions, or Asking Questions at the Wrong Time
To an employer, no questions equals no interest. As bad as having no questions is asking the wrong questions. During the first interview, asking questions only about raises, promotions, vacation, and benefits are not usually well-received. Those questions apparently indicate that you are just interested in specific personal benefits rather than the job.
Interviews can be stressful, but The Lee Group is here to help! Contact us today as you consider your next career.