As most job seekers know, it is very difficult to secure an interview and when finally, you get a call to set up a time for an interview, it is a major victory!
However, many job seekers fail to realize that even though they secured an interview, doesn’t mean they will get the job based on their qualifications. There’s still a lot that can sabotage your chances from getting the job.
Never assume that the job offer is “in the bag” just because you get an interview. Keep in mind that the person you interview with will be evaluating you based on your conversation and they’ll guess what you’ll be like to work with every day. Be careful to avoid these common interview mistakes:
#1. Arriving Late
Even if you have a good reason to be late, this will test the hiring manager’s patience. Always plan to be at least a half hour early. You can wait at a nearby coffee shop, park or even in your car until you can show up 10 minutes before the interview.
#2. Being Unprepared
One of the worst things you can do in an interview is go to one unprepared. You should always bring a few copies of your resume, a notebook, a writing utensil, a list of questions you have about the company and the position, and anything else the hiring manager requested you bring.
One of the most common questions asked in an interview is “what do you know about this company?” If you have no knowledge about the company (not even info that you could easily Google), then the hiring manager will easily cross you off the list. Doing research about the company before the interview shows that you have interest in the company and the position and asking questions about the company shows that you are eager to learn more. Being unprepared will leave the hiring manager with a bad impression.
#3. Negative Body Language
Lack of eye contact, a weak handshake, slouching, and not smiling are all non-verbal signs that tell the interviewer that you aren’t interested in the conversation and/or lack confidence. Show your interest and enthusiasm for the position by smiling and making positive eye contact with the people you meet during your interview. Make sure you sit up straight and work on your handshake to make sure you don’t give the wrong impression.
#4. Not Engaging in Conversation
If you simply answer questions and stay silent until the next question, it will seem like you’re being interrogated. An interview is not an interrogation. Make conversation by asking questions when they arise. They’re human, too. It will make the interview experience more enjoyable and make you more memorable if you engage them in conversation.
#5. Unprofessional Language
Never ever use any profane, derogatory, or inappropriate language in an interview. Swearing or talking inappropriately show a lack of respect, sophistication, and self-censorship.
#6. Begging for the Job
If you find yourself watching the interviewer’s reaction to every word you say and every non-verbal you send during an interview, it means you’re doing everything you can to “please” the interviewer rather than be yourself. Don’t do this! If you constantly try to please others, you won’t be happy in the end when you settle for a job or company that you don’t fit in at. Carry yourself with confidence and see yourself as a valuable asset to the company you want to work for. The confidence will stand out in the interview and help you land the job you want and deserve.
#7. Not having Questions
Along with being unprepared, if you don’t have questions to ask the hiring manager, they will assume you aren’t interested in the position anyway. Check out these questions that you could ask and make sure to make up some of your own.
#8. Asking about Salary
If you ask about salary during the first interview, the hiring manager will just assume that you only care about how much you’ll get paid. Hiring managers want to hire people who have passion toward the job and company, not for the paycheck. Wait until they ask about salary or if you’re offered the job.
#9. Dressing inappropriately
You want to be remembered for your qualifications, not your appearance. If you are interviewing for a corporate or higher level position, wear more formal business attire, such as a suit. If you are interviewing for an entry-level or general labor job, wear business casual, such as khakis and a dress shirt. If you have tattoos or piercings, make sure you cover up your tattoos and remove your piercings. Cologne and perfume should also be avoided because many people are either allergic or have very sensitive senses of smell.
#10. Failing to Follow Up or Not Collecting Contact Info
First off, you always should request business cards from everyone you meet during an interview. This is a networking tool and if you fail to collect them, there will be no way for you to follow up or even thank them. Following up with a thank you email is very important. It gives you the final opportunity to showcase your value to the company and leaves a positive impression with the hiring manager, so they remember you.