First impressions matter, especially when it comes to a high stakes job interview. After your interview, employers have to make an important decision as to whether or not to hire you, which means they’re judging you on everything that happens during that short amount of time. One small hiccup is enough to ruin your chances of getting hired. There are some common mistakes that candidates sometimes make during the interview process that can be especially irritating to employers. You need to know what these mistakes are, so you can avoid them and improve your chances of getting hired.
- Arriving Late – Showing up late to a job interview suggests poor time management skills. That’s definitely not the first impression you want to make with a new employer! Spend some time researching the directions, possible traffic issues, and the parking situation to avoid any curveballs during your drive in. Try to arrive 15 minutes early to give yourself some extra cushion time.
- Neglecting to Edit Social Media – More and more employers are running candidate’s names through social media sites. If you use you Facebook for social reasons, be sure to properly restrict access to your page. On LinkedIn, keep the site professional in nature. Spelling mistakes need to be corrected and photos of a more leisurely nature should be adjusted to the professional atmosphere of LinkedIn. On Twitter, follow people that are in the industry you’re trying to break into. Finally, run your name through Google. Make sure if anything comes up that doesn’t paint you in a good light you’re ready to discuss it.
- Dressing Inappropriately – Your appearance is one of the first things the interviewer will notice about you. You should dress appropriately for the job you’re applying for, but regardless of your clothing, you and your clothes need to appear clean and neat. Avoid clothes that are sloppy, tight, or too revealing and lay off the perfume, cologne and heavy makeup. Remember, if you get the job you’ll be representing your new employer and they need to be sure you’ll represent them well.
- Being Unprepared – Nowadays, there’s no excuse to go into a job interview without researching the company that’s interviewing you. Visit the company’s website to learn more about their products, services, locations, and mission statement. The company’s blog and social media sites will also give you a good feel for the company culture. The more you know, the better. You should never be caught off guard if the hiring manager asks the age-old question –"What do your know about this company?”
- Having a Negative Attitude – Your attitude sets your altitude. Remember, every interview basically boils down to three things, “do you want the job,” “can you do the job,” and “will you fit in with the team?” People will pay attention to your tone of voice, body language and you’re overall affect. Show energy, a nice smile, speak so people can hear you and avoid any negative language or stories.
- Not Listening – During your job interview, how well you listen is just as important as how well you answer the questions. A hiring manager will be giving subtle clues as to what qualities they’re looking for in their new employee. It’s important for you pick up on these cues, so you can elaborate on how you’re the perfect fit for the job and the company.
- Not Asking Questions – As the interview is nearing the end, the interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. Never answer no to this question! Asking intelligent questions is a great way to show that you’re interested and passionate about the position. With that in mind, there are some questions you should avoid asking during a first round interview. Any questions having to do with salary or how quickly you’d be promoted might make an employer think that you’re not willing to prove yourself before receiving recognition.
- Badmouthing Previous Employers - Don't make the mistake of badmouthing your former boss and coworkers. Your negative comments may send the signal that you could be difficult to get along with. If the interviewer asks why you’re leaving your current position, put a positive spin on it and simply say that you’re looking for something better. Managers are looking to hire employees who can be part of their existing team and the optimism you display in the interview could be a first sign of good things to come.
- Not Preparing the Elevator Pitch – You can almost guarantee that an employer will ask to you the age old question, “Tell me about yourself.” This is something that takes rehearsal and you should have this speech planned out ahead of time. Take the time to look at yourself and find those things that make you stand apart from the rest of the competition. Think of yourself like a brand and how would you “promote” yourself to this audience. This is your time to shine. With a little self-reflection and rehearsal, you’ll be ready to knock this question out of the park!
- Not Following Up – It’s important that you take time to personally thank the manager for meeting with you once the interview is over. This is also a great opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position. If the employer is on the fence between you and another candidate, following up can be all it takes to give you the edge and a job offer.
Do yourself a favor and learn from the mistakes of other candidates as you go on future job interviews! Avoiding these major job interview mistakes will help you leave a positive and lasting impression on hiring managers. Porter and Chester Institute is a career training school that has nine campuses throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. Every campus has full-time Career Services Advisors who will assist you in your search for job openings, update your resume, and prepare for job interviews. Should you stray from your career path, our Career Services Advisors are there to help you find your focus. If you would like to learn more about Porter and Chester Institute, fill out this form.