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Ten Ways to Blow a Job Interview… and How to Avoid these Traps!
For every job interview opportunity, there is a way that an applicant can effectively sabotage the process. If you find that you interview and interview without an offer, perhaps you are inadvertently committing one of the following “cardinal sins” of interviewing. Here is a list of everyday errors applicants commit. If you can avoid making them, you stand a better chance to get the job you really want. So, for your next interview, do not….
Get lost/show up late:
This is a surefire way to tell a company you are not going to be on time for work and you don’t allow enough time to get where you need to go. Do yourself a major favor — take a trial run past the location the day before the interview, and allow more time to get through rush hour traffic, if applicable.
Remember…in a business casual environment, appropriate dress for the actual job may not match appropriate interview attire. Wear formal business clothing: suit, dress, jacket and slacks. Do not interview in the more casual clothing the dress code might allow you to wear once you’re working there. If you want a company to think you are employable, look the part. Dress only in professional business attire on an interview.
Take your child with you to the interview:
While a company cannot by law ask you if you have any children, bringing one with you to the interview not only tells a prospective employer you have children, rightly or wrongly it also implies you do not have appropriate day care for the children and you might not be as reliable an employee as they want.
Negotiate a salary outside of the range initially quoted you by your staff supervisor:
When you are matched to a job by a QSS staff supervisor, part of that person’s task is to screen your salary requirement to ensure what you want is what the company can pay. If you tell QSS your money requirement is suitable for the client’s budget, we share that information with the client. When an interviewee tries to negotiate a higher salary directly with the company, it appears you either did not listen to the information offered to you, or QSS did not do their job in finding the right person for the client’s position. Negotiating a salary outside the range quoted does not put you in the best light to land the job.
Talk about personal information not pertinent to the position:
Similar to #3 above. The company with whom you are interviewing has no reason to know your cousin’s mother’s friend’s sister was in a car wreck and you had to leave your last position to take care of this person. This may be the real reason you left the job, but it will convey a more stable tone if you simply state due to compelling family reasons, you had to stop working and now the situation has been completely resolved.
Talk about past experience that has no bearing on the job for which you are interviewing:
All of us have experience that is not used on every job we perform. If you are interviewing for an entry level position in an industry new to you, do not talk extensively about the duties that could be perceived as “higher level” work. It will make you sound as if you will not be satisfied with the duties on the new job. Rather, look for links between your past work and the new job duties and push the point that your background has uniquely qualified you for the position. Remember all jobs offer learning experiences — don’t let the interviewer perceive you as “overqualified”.
Change your interview time:
Every now and again, we all have illnesses or emergencies that cause us to reschedule appointments. Whatever you do, try not to have this happen when it’s interview time. You run the risk of sounding either unorganized or disinterested in the position. If you set an interview time, make sure you don’t give the company reason to wonder how committed or interested you are.
Talk negatively about past employers:
If you had a bad experience on your last job with a difficult supervisor, do not bring this up in the interview, under any circumstances! No matter how dissatisfied you are with a past employer, it’s much more acceptable to say you were/are looking for a new opportunity than it is to bad-mouth your last supervisor.
Oversell the “advancement” issue:
Most employers hate the interviewing and recruiting process. If you come on too strong about wanting a job with a lot of advancement potential, you run the risk of making the interviewer fear they will be going through the same recruiting process next year because you have moved onto a new position. It’s fine to say you want a position with growth potential, as long as you define the concept correctly. We all want to be able to learn new tasks and to master new challenges, but it doesn’t mean you expect to be president of the company within the next 6 months. Be careful how you broach this topic! You may be giving the message that this position will be boring to you.
Talk extensively about time-consuming hobbies:
If you are active in your church, an avid cyclist, or participate in any number of community activities, you could be a considered a valuable member of society. However, you don’t want a prospective employer to wonder if you are so over-committed you wouldn’t have the time to work a full shift or to put in extra hours, as needed. Once again, tread lightly. If you are asked what you do in your spare time, respond, but don’t over emphasize the time commitment. While some employers seek staff that are involved in outside activities, make sure the interviewer knows the job would absolutely, positively, come first!