Candidates sabotage the interview too often, and with such consistency, says Lorne Epstein, the author ofYou’re Hired! Interview Skills to Get the Job. “You throw your interview away when you don’t pay attention to the details.”
Check out these 13 ways job-seekers misfire during the interview process—both during and after.
1. Being Unprepared for the Phone Interview
Many companies use a phone interview to screen candidates. Paul Bailo, the author ofThe Official Phone Interview Handbook, advises: “Don’t use a cell phone. They can have poor sound quality and the possibility of a dropped call. Watch your ‘um’s and ‘ah’s. They’re verbal spacers, and especially awkward over the phone.” Also, dress for success for your interview, even though you won’t be seen. It will give you a professional edge, not an I’m-relaxing-in-my-PJ’s mindset.
2. Showing Up Late
Being on time is easy. Being late is exhausting and time-consuming, says Epstein. He advises that “on time” means 15 minutes before you’re scheduled.
3. Being Rude to the Receptionist
Most people wouldn’t think of the receptionist as an interviewer, but it’s fairly common that the receptionist will report back to the hiring manager how candidates behaved in the waiting area, says career coach Cheryl Palmer. Behave in the waiting area as if the hirer’s eyes are on you; they likely are.
4. Not Doing Enough Research
Ronald Kaufman, the author ofAnatomy of Success, says many candidates shoot themselves in the foot by not getting to know the company they’re interviewing for. “Research the company website, their values, their products, their industry, competitors, top management, and, if it’s public, the stock price,” he advises. “The goal is to prove you are looking for a career with this company versus just a job.”
5. Leaving Your Cell Phone On
Having your phone ring during an interview can make you look unprofessional, especially if you have a loud ring tone with music the interviewer may not appreciate, says Palmer.
7. Not Watching Your Mouth
Career coach Michael Coritsidis lists three unexpected ways people can sabotage their job search during the interview: “Bad breath, coffee breath, cigarette breath.”
8. A Messy Briefcase
Everything creates an impression, and a briefcase filled with ‘stuff’ creates a negative one, says Kaufman. “Only have in your briefcase what you need for each interview.”
One thing to always bring: An extra resume. It’s handy for reference. Use LiveCareer Resume Builder for step-by-step help with creating an impressive resume.
9. Bringing Baggage from Your Last Job
If people talk negatively about a previous employer or team member, and their energy feels more negative about their last job than positive about their future with us, my mind is made up. They are not a good fit, says Sally Strebel, a cofounder of Page.ly WordPress hosting.
10. Not Closing the Deal
So many candidates participate in amazing interviews, but when they walk away the interviewer is unsure whether the candidate really wanted the job, says Bailo. “You must close the deal: Ask for the job!”
11. Neglecting to Send a Thank-You Note
Many job seekers don’t realize the importance of a prompt thank-you note as a follow-up after an interview. Executive career coach Jane Cranston recommends sending your note by mail, not email. It’s more formal, and more appropriate for the circumstances. Whether by email or by post, send a note within 24 hours. Make sure it’s personalized and restates your high level of interest in the job.
12. Bemoaning Your Failures on Social Media
If you’ve been turned down for a job, it’s so easy to express frustration by venting on Twitter, Facebook, or email, says career specialist Chandlee Bryan. “Don’t say anything online that you’ll regret later. Vent with a trusted friend or relative instead.”
13. Saying Yes to Drugs
Some candidates feel like they are untouchable or invincible, and that recreational drugs of a certain type won’t show up in test results, says Lizandra Vega, the author ofThe Image of Success. Hayes recently had a candidate try to use dog urine for a drug test. “Surprise! He’s having puppies!” he says.
Stop interfering with your ability to move from interview to job offer. By avoiding these interview pitfalls, the perfect job can be yours.
If you’re still looking for the ideal career, but haven’t found it yet, take a free career interest test to find the best career matches for you.
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