We've all heard the old adage, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." Recently I interviewed someone who made every mistake in the interview handbook. She was late to the interview, she barely did any research on our company, her hair and makeup were sloppy, she didn't have any questions prepared and had to leave the interview early for another appointment. Needless to say, she didn’t get the job. Here are five other things to avoid doing while on an interview:
Send negative non-verbal messages
The very first thing you will do is shake hands with your potential new employer. Make sure it’s a good one! It shouldn’t be too weak and it should definitely not break anyone’s fingers either. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to use your friends and family as your test dummies. During the interview, maintain a high level of eye contact. It shows interest and engagement on your part. And definitely sit upright with your shoulders up and straight back against the chair. This shows confidence and maturity.
Not Take Notes
Anyone who tells you it’s not necessary to take notes during an interview is 100% wrong. If you’re in an unusual setting and you’re not sure if it’s appropriate, ask permission. Most hiring managers love candidates that come to an interview with a professional looking portfolio that stores their resume on one side and a legal notepad and pen on the other. This will also help when you write your thank you note later to reference some of the important things you learned about the role, culture and company. Please be cautious when taking notes and remember that you should write down key points only—not every word the hiring manager says. Try to maintain eye contact as much as possible.
Ramble or Provide Vague Responses
Unless being asked a situational question where you should draw from your own experiences, you should be able to answer most questions in under 2 minutes. If you find yourself talking and talking and talking some more, you’re probably rambling. STOP! And even worse, if you are on an interview and the Hiring Manager has to clarify a question they already asked you, then you probably gave a vague answer and this is just as bad as going off topic. Your answers should always be clear, concise and to the point.
Speak Negatively About Current/Previous Employers
This is just a given. No one wants to work with someone who views their previous employers negatively because chances are when you leave that employer, you will speak poorly of them as well. Plus, no one wants to work with someone who is portrayed as a Negative Nancy.
It is difficult to talk about money on a first interview, especially if this is the first interaction you’ve had with the hiring manager. Make the first interview about your qualifications and why you are the best fit for the job. It is easier to discuss money once the manager knows your strengths and has determined you’re actually a finalist candidate for the position. At that point you can really sell your abilities and explain why they should hire you at the rate you’re seeking.
Don’t be the person who shows up disheveled, uninterested, unprepared, and negative. You’ll never get the job; however, you will get a lifetime of living in your parent’s basement playing video games.
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