Congratulations, you scored a job interview! You clearly made a positive impression on the potential employer on paper and now it’s time to back that up in an interview.
Unfortunately, not all job seekers make a lasting impression for the right reasons.
Following is an overview of some of the worst interview mistakes a job candidate can make, along with tips on how to avoid them.
Confidence can get you far in an interview. Not only does some self-assuredness show that you believe in your skills and abilities but providing solid examples and deliverables around the work you’re most proud of can help employers better understand what you’re capable of. However, expressing too much confidence can be seen as arrogance, which can easily come off as rudeness.
To avoid appearing arrogant, keep your self-awareness in check. Instead of making one of the worst interview mistakes by assuming that you’re a shoo-in for the role, strive to present a quiet confidence. Help your cause by speaking clearly, maintaining eye contact, not fidgeting, and delivering your responses in a calm, deliberate manner.
2. POOR PREPARATION
Coming to an interview without having properly prepared is another major red flag for hiring managers. Job interviews take time and effort to prep for, on both sides. Interviews are a serious and time-intensive undertaking for most employers. So, when you come to an interview without having done your research on their organization or industry, it shows the hiring manager that you don’t fully value their time and are not taking the opportunity seriously.
To ace any interview, you need to do your homework. Research the company (and its top competitors), familiarize yourself with all the job specifications and also how your skills can transfer. Practice responding to common interview questions can help ensure you’re ready to shine and make a lasting first impression.
3. DRESSING INAPPROPRIATELY
Presentation matters, even in the world of virtual interviews.
So, what does this mean if you’re only going to be seen from the shoulders up? We suggest that you dress the same as you would if you’d be going to meet your potential new boss in person.
Another factor to consider if your first interview is virtual, is where you’ll take that meeting. If you can, find a room in your home that is free from visual distractions. If that room has a lot of background noise, consider wearing headphones during your interview to help reduce unnecessary distractions. And if you have children or pets, be upfront in the beginning during your interview about the potential interruptions.
If the interview is in-person, it’s wise to ask your recruiter about the dress code. Typically, you’ll find most companies adhere to business professional attire, but if you’re looking to join a startup, dress might be more casual.
4. ARRIVING TOO EARLY OR LATE
While being late to an interview is an obvious mistake, showing up early is another no-no, particularly if the interview is in-person. If you arrive 30 minutes early, this could be an unexpected hiccup for a hiring manager as they may not have everything set up and in order when you arrive. And if you click “join meeting” 30 minutes early to a remote interview, chances are you’re going to be stuck in a virtual waiting room. This is time you could better use preparing for the interview.
To avoid any in-person faux-pas, consider getting there no more than 10 minutes early.
If you’re any earlier, hang back for a while and use the time to go through your interview prep notes. And if you run into an unavoidable situation where you’re running late, make sure you call the recruiter as soon as you can to see what the best course of action is.
5. YOU’RE TOO SHY
Interview nerves are natural given the pressure to perform and impress when the stakes are high. If you tend to turn inward when you’re nervous, try to curtail those tendencies beforehand. Consider venting your fears by writing them out in a list, and then counter them, one by one, with positive, logical affirmations and statements to diminish their significance. It can also be helpful to practice projecting your voice while rehearsing potential answers.
HOW A SPECIALIZED RECRUITER CAN HELP YOU
When you work with the specialized recruiters at 24 Seven, we can help guide you through the interview process step-by-step. We understand the finer points of interviewing for creative, marketing and digital jobs. Let us take some of the mystery and worry out of making your next career move.
This post was updated on July 26, 2022