Your cover letter and resume have made a positive impression on a potential employer, and they've called you in for an interview. Now, you need to ensure the employer stays impressed with you and your potential in their organization.
There's an old saying first impressions count—and there's no better instance of the truth to this than the impressions made during a job interview. A variety of factors are in effect. It may include the way you are dressed, how you communicate, your personality, and a number of other considerations.
It takes a lot to develop a positive impression, and very little to leave one that does not work in your favor during a job interview.
Here are 10 common mistakes that can ruin any job interview (if you're not careful).
1. Arriving Late
Everyone's time is valuable. Show respect and do not waste other people's time.
Of course, sometimes things pop up and cause unexpected delays. Try to plan ahead so you don't arrive late. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview location. Make sure you have an outfit ready the night before, so you're not scrambling five minutes before you're supposed to be heading out the door.
If there is an unexpected delay, at the very least, give a call to apologize and inform your contact of your expected arrival time.
2. Jumping Into The Discussion Of Pay And Benefits
There will be a time for this discussion—generally not in the first interview, unless the employer brings it up themselves. You do not want to appear as though all you care about is, "What's in it for me?"
At the same time, approaching the topic of salary is especially risky. You may end up putting yourself in a position where you are asked to present a desired salary and fall under what the company hadn't anticipated. Learn more about the position and conduct research before going into the salary discussion.
3. Answering Your Phone
Show respect by letting your employer know this interview is more important than any call, text, or notification. Turn off your cell phone. If you forget and it rings, apologize and turn it off.
4. Talking Badly About Your Previous Or Current Employer
Regardless of the reality of the situation, never talk bad about your current or previous employer(s). It brings to question if you will do the same with this potential employer in the future.
If they ask why you are leaving your current job, be honest, take ownership of the situation, and focus on the future.
5. Being Brief, Hiding From Questions, Or Talking Too Much
Just as you want to learn about the employer, the employer wants to learn about you. At the same time, you don't want to be the only one talking throughout the interview. You also don't want to be too brief with your answers. You'll come off as unenthusiastic and uninterested in the position.
Learn to listen and have a balanced conversation where you both have a chance to receive information and ask questions.
6. Not Asking Questions
Regardless of how thorough the interview discussion is, when asked, "Do you have any questions for me?" always have a question. Preferably two or three.
When you do not have a question, it may come across as though you are not sincerely interested in the opportunity.
7. Dressing Inappropriately
Your appearance includes not just what you wear but how you groom yourself. Employers will not be impressed with a sloppy appearance. You need to appear and dress the part of what is expected of the position.
We recommend dressing one level up from the employees who work at the company. If the workplace culture is casual, wear something that's business casual. You should look like you want the job, while also appearing like you'd fit in.
8. Being Unprepared
Conduct research so you have at least a general sense of the type of business the company is in and what the position you are applying for is about. The hiring manager will know right away whether or not you're clueless about the job you applied for.
With thorough research, you will be able to better tailor your questions and answers during the job interview.
False information can lead to an immediate disqualification and exemplify your weaknesses. You will most likely be blacklisted at the company, too.
Lying on your resume or during a job interview is never a good idea.
10. Being Inattentive
Carefully listen to what the interviewer is saying and show you are attentive. You do not want to appear disinterested and come off as inattentive. It is not a desirable characteristic for any position.
If you're not interested in them, they won't be interested in you.
Most candidates will only receive one opportunity to make a good impression. Make sure the one you leave is as positive as possible by avoiding these 10 common mistakes during your next interview.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.