You have worked hard researching opportunities and sending out résumés. Because of your great efforts in personal branding, you’ve been called in for a face-to-face job interview. Congratulations!
This is an important next step in your job hunt. It’s also your only chance to make a lasting first impression. On the day of your interview, clammy palms and butterflies in your stomach are to be expected, even for the most seasoned business professional. But you can reduce your stress level by adequate interview prep and knowing some mistakes that interviewees tend to make. By knowing these mistakes, you will also know how to avoid them. Here are seven crucial mistakes to avoid during a face-to-face interview:
At the upper echelons of business, it is a necessity to have a keen understanding of what is going on within the industry that the company operates within. A strong interviewee must be able to discuss commerce trends and major events and unique challenges that the business has faced or should be prepared to face in the near future. Be prepared with facts, figures, and more than general insight into industry themes and topics, and how you can use these to drive business solutions.
No matter how well you do in an interview, arriving more than a few minutes late can have a detrimental impact on a hiring manager’s impression of you. You may come across as ill-disciplined, or unenthusiastic about the company. Ultimately, this can influence your likelihood of obtaining the position.In other words, avoid being late at all costs!
Plan to take special measures to insure that you will arrive on time. This may require waking up earlier, leaving earlier in the day to avoid traffic, or re-scheduling other duties you have on your docket for that day.
Leaving your cellphone on
By now, we should all recognize the logic of not wanting one’s cellphone to ring during an interview. But simply putting your phone to silent mode is not enough during an interview. Hiring managers can hear vibrations if it were to go off in your pocket, briefcase, or suit pocket. While not an egregious as a ringing sound, this alone can make a difference and can interrupt the interview process. Shut your phone off completely, and perhaps leave it in your car or anywhere outside of the interview location, just in case.
While it can depend on the job sector or the individual organization, the general principle for attire is formal clothing. First impressions are vital and demonstrate how seriously you are taking this potential opportunity. If you turn up in a shabbily put-together suit- or worse, in no suit at all- you shouldn’t expect a warm welcome and the full attention of hiring personnel.
The best advice is to always take a conservative approach while still being well groomed. Polished shoes and starched shirts should be staples of your attire. You need to fit into a commercial, professional environment, which sometimes means you need to be willing to sacrifice your preferences of fashion for the job.
Along with the clothing itself, your professional appearance can be diminished with too much cologne or perfume. Some individuals can be sensitive to certain smells, or they can possess negative associations with certain scents. If you elect to use such products, be sure to use these sparingly.
Forgetting to be Courteous
Body language, personality expression, and manners in a face-to-face interview are essential. It is important to recognize that employers generally do not always hire the most skilled or best educated candidate. Instead, many employers hire the candidate who has the best personality and “team fit” to what the organization already is. Therefore, a firm handshake, appropriate eye contact, a genuine smile, appropriate laughter, and a relaxed, engaged demeanor are other important appearance factors to keep in mind.
Asking no questions
An interview isn’t just about why your experiences and business acumen can be applied to the role in question. It’s also a test of your interest in the position. Asking questions demonstrates your enthusiasm in joining the organization and being an immediate asset- which will strengthen your credibility as a candidate. Not asking questions can be taken as a sign that you are not interested, or that you are not an analytical thinker capable of the responsibilities required.
But be careful: asking questions about things you should already know can demonstrate a lack of research. One question that you could always ask is how a current affairs issue might affect their business. This sort of inquiry demonstrates that you’ve given the company serious thought.
Speaking badly about your former/ current employer
Aim to not bring any negativity into the interview. Honest but careless confessions of the faults of other employers can signify to employers that you may lack a diplomatic touch, which could lead to inter-office conflicts and unnecessary hostilities. When faced with the challenging prospect of discussing previous employment, you should be ready to add a positive spin on even the most reasonable of grievances.
Sometimes even the most basic mistakes are easily forgotten as an executive. If you need help securing an interview, upload your CV below and one of our senior relationship managers will be in touch to discuss your job search strategy.