If you are a recent grad or a job seeker and you followed our job search tips, you may have landed yourself some interviews. The interview is your time to prove to your future employer what sets you apart from the pool of candidates and what skills you specifically can bring to the organization. That being said interviews can also be very stressful and intimidating.
Follow these tips of things NOT to do during an interview to help you land the job of your dreams, or a starter job that will help you get out of debt.
- Leave your cellphone or tablet on. It happens to all of us from time to time. You’re sitting in a quiet room and all of a sudden your cell phone goes off. While this will likely not make or break your interview, it is a small measure that can say a lot. If you forget to silence your electronic devices, this could be a sign to the interviewer that you are forgetful, preoccupied, or irresponsible.
- Ask questions you should know the answer to. One of the first things you should do before an interview is to research the company and the position. If you ask basic questions such as “What services or products does the company offer?” or “What are the requirements of this role?” you will seem unprepared and uninterested.
- Be unprepared mentally. Not only should you do research on the company and the role, but you should also research typical interview questions. You should have an answer prepared for questions like “Why do you want this job?” “What skills can you bring to the table?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. Also be prepared to answer questions about the future such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.
- Be unprepared physically. You should also be prepared physically. Always have at least five copies of your resume (you never know who you are going to meet), a list of references, and a pen and notebook. Being physically prepared also means looking the part of the job that you are interviewing for. Your appearance should be neat and professional: no tight or overly loose clothing, no stains or wrinkles, and no unkempt hair. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an interview.
- Lack enthusiasm. If you are unenthusiastic during the interview, the interviewer will think you are uninterested in the job and not committed. A lack of enthusiasm during the interview is a sign that you will be disengaged as an employee.
- Fake it. It’s tempting to tell the interviewer exactly what you think they want to hear; however, if you exaggerate your skills or experience it will only harm you in the long run.
- Reveal too much personal information. While it’s great to show your personality, you should not mention your personal life. Leave personal drama, relationships, credit problems, and anything that is not work-related out of the conversation.
- Speak badly of your past employers. Don’t dwell on any bad experiences and don’t trash talk anyone. You don’t want to bring any negative energy to the interview. Also, it’s a small world and you never know if your interviewer might know someone at your old job. One way to speak positively about a negative experience is to emphasize how you overcame it and how it was a learning experience.
- Ask about money or benefits. There is a time and a place to discuss your salary, bonuses, and benefits and it is not during the interview. The only time you should discuss this is if the interviewer brings it up.
- Forget to follow up. Always be sure to follow up with a thank you note to everyone you met during the interview. Your note should thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. Forgot to mention something key during the interview? A thank you note is also an opportunity to add anything you may have forgotten during the interview.
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