We’re always excited to hire new people and bring fresh ideas and practices into the company. Do you have what it takes to work for us? The job interview is one of several early opportunities you’ll have to distinguish yourself. Don’t make these mistakes:
Mistake #1: Send the wrong nonverbal cues. Nonverbal cues include all sorts of things, big and small, that convey messages to prospective employers without much conscious effort on your part. First, dress appropriately. Err on the side of overdressing. Ease off on the perfume or deodorant—you don’t want it to be distracting. Make eye contact, but not for too long at a time or you’ll make the interviewer uncomfortable. Lean forward. Pay attention to the interviewer—and look like you’re paying attention.
Mistake #2: Arrive late. Not only does a late arrival indicate to your prospective employer that his or her time isn’t important to you and that you have poor time management skills, but it also sets a bad precedent. Nobody wants an employee who will probably be running late all the time.
Mistake #3: Don’t give your full attention. You should avoid distractions. This should go without saying, but don’t use your phone in an interview. Turn it off or leave it somewhere else altogether. Don’t stare out the window or off into space. If the interviewer has to repeat a question because you weren’t paying attention, that can be a serious strike against you.
Mistake #4: Show a lack of preparation. You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to be prepared. Bring anything you might need to the interview, including your portfolio or resume. Pop in a breath mint right before the interview. And perhaps most importantly, study up on the company you’re interviewing for. “If the interviewer asks, “Do you know what our company does?” you should be ready with answer. Read the “About Us” or similar pages on the company’s website. Scan their social media pages.
Mistake #5: Be unprofessional. No matter how nice the interviewer is, remember than you’re there for a business interview. Don’t share needless personal information or ramble on. Once again, make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the job. Observe the dress of the company’s current employees and go for something a little nicer. Leave your soda or coffee before you go to the interview; the interviewer doesn’t want to hear your slurping. And remember, the interview starts before you walk into the interviewer’s office: be aware of how you conduct yourself as you’re walking into the building, checking in, or waiting for your turn.