Landing an interview these days can be tough. So don’t lose a golden opportunity by making one of these simple, but common, interview mistakes. Pay attention to the small details and make every interview a success.
- TMI – That’s right … Too much information! An interviewer doesn’t need (or want!) to know about how long you spend at the gym, your addiction to military video games, your drinking habits or any other kind of not-so-professional fun we all have after work hours. Be aware that many interviewers check social networking sites to see what type of person you really are, so be sure to clean up your LinkedIn and Facebook pages before you start your job search. And when giving responses during the interview, be sure your body language and demeanor represent you as the same dignified professional your online presence portrays.
- Not Researching the Company – There is nothing worse than showing up for an interview completely in the dark about your prospective employer. If the interviewer is going to take the time to get to know you and assess your fit into the company, you must do the same. Be sure to do your research at least three days prior to the interview. Read the information more than once so you can speak intelligently about the company in the interview. Information to gather includes how long the company has been in business, corporate culture, number of employees, and products and services offered by the company. Coming prepared with your own questions formulated in advance will show you’ve done your homework.
- Arriving Late – If you can’t make it to the interview on time, you are better off pulling over to the side of the road and rescheduling for a day when you can be punctual. Arriving late to an interview is a sign that you are either irresponsible or chronically late, neither of which looks favorable. By calling, before your scheduled arrival time, you still may have a chance at saving face and landing the job. Better yet, to avoid this whole scenario in the first place, make a dry run the day before your interview to be sure you know the exact interview location and traffic conditions along the route.
- Bad Hygiene – A sure way to ruin a job interview is to show up less than, ahem, clean. Think of a job interview as a first date and put your very best foot forward. Even if you usually go three days between hair washes, nothing says clean and tidy like a complete shower just before your appointment. Make sure your fingernails are presentable and your breath is fresh. If you are a smoker, be sure to wash your hands and arms after smoking and to bring mouthwash and a toothbrush to rinse your mouth of any lingering odor. And finally, give thought to your attire by wearing professional and clean clothing that flatters you, keeping in mind that it is always better to be overdressed than under.
- Watch Your Mouth – An interview is no time to get lazy with your language. Human resources people often try to make an interview a comfortable and calm experience. Even so, if you find that you share a love of the same crazy comedian with your interviewer, it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep the racy quips to yourself. While you should be yourself and avoid being stiff, don’t get too comfortable. Never use profanity and don’t ever speak poorly about a previous job or supervisor.
A first interview makes a first impression – avoid cutting corners and trust in the basics I have outlined above. Not only will you feel more confident, you’ll have more time to worry about what really counts – showing the interviewer you are the right candidate for the job.