What not to do at an interview

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Job Interview

Your performance at a job interview will have a substantial impact on whether or not you get the job. It is possible that you might deliver a perfect, polished performace and still lose out because someone else is even better qualified. However, it is also possible to spoil your chances of success by not planning ahead.

Here are some things to avoid doing at interviews – and experienced recruiters will tell you that all of these mistakes are not as uncommon as you might think.

1. Don’t be late. You might think that this is too obvious to be worthy of a mention, but it’s not. Being late also includes taking a last-minute bathroom break or running back to the parking lot because you’ve left your cell phone in the car. Keeping the interviewer waiting will immediately set a bad impression.

2. Don’t show too much interest in the benefits package. If you want to go through the car and heathcare benefits in detail at your first interview, it sends a negative message to the interviewer about what really motivates you. If they want you there will be plenty of time to negotiate the details later.

3. Don’t tell your life story. The interviewer wants to know about your suitability for the job, not your motivation for getting into accounting or the marital problems that have caused you to relocate. Keep it focused and professional.

4. Don’t agree to do something unprofessional during the interview. Such as performing an imitation of a chicken. Some interviewers think it necessary to challenge interviewees to perform unusual acts, such as singing or telling jokes. This might be enough to put you off working for them, but if it isn’t, keep your composure and tell them that while you might do a mean Chicken Little impersonation, it’s not relevant to the job and you won’t be demonstrating it at the interview.

5. Don’t lie. There’s not much to said about this tip – it’s always safer to tell the truth. If you don’t have the skills to do the job, admit it. But provide plenty of evidence of your ability to learn.

6. Don’t keep quiet. Some interviewers like to talk a lot, particularly if they themselves are nervous. Don’t hide behind your own nerves – speak up for yourself. It might seem like the interviewer is giving you an easy ride, but afterwards they will realise that you didn’t tell them very much – which is unlikely to be in your favor.

7. Don’t dress inappropriately. This is particular a tip for younger women who might, delibrately or accidentally, choose to wear a clothes that present a distraction to the interviewer. It’s better to cover up too much than risk going the other way.

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