The job interview is a critical element of the application process. It is typically the first time you meet the person or people you will be working with at the organization. Therefore, it is important to present yourself as a strong candidate, highly motivated and eager to start putting your talents to work for the employer.
Clearly you have the qualifications or you probably would not have gotten to the interview stage. Now is the time to demonstrate who you are based on your actions. An interview can quickly go in the wrong direction. Don’t do these 5 things:
- Don’t arrive late. This is a major red flag to an employer that you are not reliable and it can send a message that you do not respect the job or the hiring manager’s time. Be sure to research the location of the job interview prior to the meeting. Know where you are going, how you are going to get there, where you will park, and address any potential obstacles (i.e. road construction, child care, etc.) before the day of your interview. Have the phone number of the person you are interviewing with handy so if something does go wrong you can immediately call and notify the person about your delay.
- Don’t dress inappropriately. Your appearance matters. From head to toe make sure your hair is combed, minimal jewelry, light make-up, buttoned up shirts/blouses, cleaned and ironed slacks/skirts, and polished shoes. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Don’t have poor body language. First impressions take only 7 seconds and your body language says a lot. Start with a natural smile, shoulders back, and head-up. Make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Sit up straight in your chair and lean in, it shows you are interested and engaged in the conversation.
- Don’t be unprepared. Preparing for an interview is just as important as actually submitting your application for the position. If you are not prepared, you are not going to go any further in the application process. Research the company and make sure you understand what they do and a little about their culture and operations. Prepare answers to interview questions so you have an idea of what you are going to say to typical questions. Prepare questions you want to ask the hiring manager; asking questions demonstrates you are serious about the position and interested in learning more about the company and how you can succeed there.
- Don’t be on your phone. You must turn your phone off during a job interview. Answering the phone, scrolling through emails, texting, surfing the net, etc., are all distractions. During an interview you must give the person or people you are meeting with your full attention. It is rude and disrespectful to do otherwise.
Whether you get the job or not can really depend on your actions during the interview. Avoiding these top 5 bad behaviors can help position you for success.
What other actions would you recommend avoiding in an interview?