Interviews necessitate that you make a good impression, however nerves or being unprepared can hold you back from presenting yourself in the best light. Other factors can also erode confidence such as what you’re wearing, when you arrive, or whether you’re focused, present and actually listening to your interview. Here are nine things to avoid during any job interview.
- Being unprepared. Anticipate questions about your resume and experience, and have answers for the most common interview questions. Do your research to get an idea of company culture, products, and where your skills may translate. A quick search of the company’s website and social media channels will prepare you.
- Forgetting your manners. There are simple things you can do to solidify your impression as a thoughtful and considerate person this company wants to hire. Arrive on time, say thank you, be respectful to all and have a positive attitude.
- Unprofessional attire. Is your outfit wrinkled or messy? A sloppy ensemble signals to your interviewer that you didn’t care enough to notice the details. Have a couple of alternative outfits picked out in case your normal go-to outfit has something wrong, and always make sure all of your interview outfits are pressed and ready to go.
- Discussing salary. Best not to discuss salary in a first interview. Only discuss it if the interviewer asks you about it first. Otherwise best to focus on the role and company culture and discuss salary in follow-up interviews. If you are working with a recruiter, they will have shared your parameters ahead of time, so leave the negotiation to your recruiter.
- Not listening. What is your interviewer asking you? If you’re not paying attention and either answer the wrong question or ask them to repeat it, you imply that your attention span or attention to detail is low. Show that you can follow directions and keep an open mind by simply listening.
- Rambling, fidgeting, or getting too nervous. Yes, interviews can be nerve-wracking, but you’re here to show you are best for this job. When you go on and on, elaborating on every answer, you’re supplying too much information and offering irrelevant anecdotes. On the other hand, freezing up is equally bad! If you think you could get nervous, practice your answers beforehand in the mirror so you’ll feel confident in the room. Be concise, articulate, and to the point.
- Putting down a former boss or company. Even if your former employer was a nightmare for you to work with, nothing will make you look worse than speaking ill about them. You also never know who knows who! If a previous job situation was truly terrible, practice explaining what didn’t work for you in that position in a positive way.
- Answering your phone. Turn off your cell phone and put it away while you’re interviewing. Picking it up when it buzzes might be instinct that shows the interviewer you can’t focus, or you care more about what someone texted you than this job opportunity.
- Being late. ABOT: Always Be On Time. If you don’t know where the company is, map it out before driving (or taking public transit or an Uber) so you know how long it’ll take to get there and can plan accordingly. If there is an outstanding situation for being late, like a car accident or a sick child, have the hiring manager’s phone number on dial so you can call and let them know what’s going on.