Interviewing is an important part of the process of getting a new job, but since we don’t do it often (I hope) we tend to forgot the fundamentals. I have made my top 10 list of mistakes that I see, and hear about, but fear not - I have also supplied solutions to each of them.]
1. Showing up unprepared for a job interview
It sounds simple, but many people are not prepared for an interview and you can tell. Make sure you prepare for the interview, know exactly what the job description is, know who you are interviewing with and for how long - all before you head into the interview.
2. Asking the question at a job interview "What does your company do?"
Again prepare for the interview by searching the company before going in and most importantly research the person interviewing you or who you will be reporting to - LinkedIn makes this so easy.
3. Coming to the interview without intelligent questions of your own
At some point the interviewer is going to ask “Do you have any questions for me?” and you should not say “no.”
This obviously this depends on what has been covered already in the interview, but you should have questions prepared or questions about something that were discussed. It speaks to your professionalism and ambition. A good one to have up your sleeve is what is the company's ambition for the next 2 - 3 years? This will also show you are in for the long haul.
4. Cancelling interviews time at the last minute
This really annoys recruiters and companies, a lot of organisation goes into making the interview time and if this role is important to you this meeting should be set in stone. Wanting to change the meeting at the last minute could result in it being cancelled all together.
5. Arriving late to an interview
You really have to plan this in advance, and trying to find a car park when you are not familiar with the area is not smart - plan ahead and see what the best way to get to your interview actually is, it could be public transport or you can get directions on google maps and now you can set the time of day in that search.
6. Not dressing appropriately for the interview
This can go both ways, you can be either under-dressed or over-dressed. Find out what the dress code is if you can before going in. For example - wearing a suit to an super-cool creative advertising agency will put you in a bad light. But vice-versa wearing sneakers to a corporate company is not going to impress anyone.
7. Talking negatively about a previous employer
You may want to leave your current job for good reasons, but never put down your previous employer no matter how bad it is or was. Be professional and diplomatic and try to frame it in a way that relates to your career goals.
8. Having low energy
This one is hard to define but an interview killer. Showing you have low energy usually means you are not sitting up straight, having no eye contact, slowness to respond to questions or just general lack of enthusiasm. So sit up straight, smile, listen and engage yourself in the moment. Practise if need be in advance with family or friends.
9. Having your phone on the table in front of you
One of my favourite no-no’s, it is highly disrespectful. Do not have the phone next to you on the table. Put it on silent or airplane mode and have it out of sight. This will show you are focussing on the task at hand.
10. Following up
I see so many people forgetting this process. Send a follow-up e-mail to the person who interviewed you, or contact the recruiter after you have finished the interview with your feedback on how it went. This step really only takes 5 minutes of your time and it will make you even more of a superstar.
So there are my top 10 tips. Don’t worry if you have made one or more of these mistakes in the past, but do make sure that you learn from it and don’t do it again.
If you aren’t going to an interview any time soon, then do keep this marked for when you do, it’s a great go-to list to revise prior to the interview process.
I would love your feedback on the above tips and if they worked for you.