The job interview is one of the most important, and nerve-wracking, components of the job search process, and it needs preparation beforehand. You know all of the interview prep basics -- from developing questions to ask your interviewer, to bringing multiple copies of your resume. But are you forgetting basics that are invaluable to your interview prep?
6 Ways that you might be sabotaging your interview
Being Late for an Interview
It is the day of your interview and you have the directions ready to go, but your car breaks down or your bus is late. What do you do? Although arriving late for an interview may not always be your fault, it can still make a bad impression. If you’re stuck in traffic, your train is delayed, or there’s the slightest chance that you won’t make it on time, always call ahead, your interviewer will appreciate not being left in the dark.
Remember, a good rule of thumb is to arrive 10-15 minutes early to an interview to have time to relax and compose yourself beforehand. But most importantly give yourself enough time for your commute, you never know what bumps in the road you may face!
We all know the old saying “dress to impress,” but are you dressing too impressive for the position you’re interviewing for? It is important to research the company’s dress code policy, whether it be through web forums, your LinkedIn connections or asking your recruiter if you’re working with one. Dress codes vary immensely from company to company, even within the same sector, doing as much research as possible will help prove that you’re a good cultural fit.
Not Researching the Company/Position
For many candidates, this may be a given, but there are some who do not conduct research on the company that they’re interviewing for. This could be a disastrous omission. It’s important to be prepared for questions about the company such as “what do you know about our company”, and/or “how do you think this position will aid in your career development?” It’s very easy to find information on almost any company these days, whether it be on the company website or through your recruiter. You don’t have to know all the company history per se, but it is important to understand their mission statement and know their current financial standing.
Bad Mouthing a Previous Employer
Would you trust the opinion of someone who can’t stop badmouthing their last job or employer? If your answer is no, then don’t do it at your interviews! Even when you’re asked the reason for leaving your previous position or to provide an example of a time you showed leadership at work, avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer. These negative comments will reflect badly on you, even if the employer was at fault. Be creative with your answers and put a positive spin on your current or previous work situation.
Not Knowing When to Stop Talking or Not Talking Enough
Whether you are a nervous rambler or your nervousness makes you go silent, know how to balance both. It is important to keep your interviewer engaged, just as it is important to engage in active listening to understand the questions asked by the interviewer. You do not want to seem as if you’re rambling, but you also do not want moments of dead silence to permeate the interview. Whether you’re a nervous talker or not, remember to relax and rock your interview!
Knowing the Right Questions to Engage Your Interviewer
As important as it is to understand the hiring process or to understand the roles of the position, it is crucial to get to know your interviewer. Yes, the interviewer will ultimately be the deciding factor of whether or not you’ll proceed onto the next step of the hiring process, but you need to remember that she is also attempting to determine if you would be a cultural fit. So, engaging in friendly conversation and learning about the interviewer’s current position will help to put you both at ease.
But, remember that this is a professional meeting and not a coffee date!
As simple as they may sound, these interview mistakes are committed very often. So, next time you land an interview, keep these basics in mind.