CareerBuilderCareerBuilder recently surveyed hundreds of different employers, asking which interview mistakes were their biggest pet peeves. Not surprisingly, most of these things were considered “the little things” – but as we all know, there’s a reason why they say it’s the little things that matter.
Acting Bored or Cocky – 63% A nervous person may tap their toes repeatedly, swing their feet, or drum their fingers. Unfortunately, these signals also say “I’m soooo bored” to an employer. Boredom is also frequently interpreted as cockiness. Cure: you don’t want to scare the employer away and pay attention to where your arms are. Let them rest on the arms of the chair you’re in and keep both feet on the floor, knees together, to minimize foot tapping. Leaning forward slightly can help show that you’re interested.
Not Dressing Appropriately – 61% For the seasoned workforce, dressing professionally may seem like a no brainer, but all too often the graduate fresh from college has lost touch with what is expected in today’s workplace. Wearing flip-flops, jeans, or basically anything but a suit says you don’t take the interviewer seriously. Cure: Just wear a suit. You’ll almost never go wrong! If you want to give it more pizzazz and you’re applying for an artsy or creative job, dress it up with some bright or funky accessories. However, if you’re interviewing in a more formal environment like banking or law, keep your accessories very minimal. She’s here for the open marketing position… ?
Coming to the Interview with No Knowledge of the Company – 58% So … you didn’t Google search the company before you came for the interview. Big mistake. Not only do you not know what they’re selling, but you’re showing 1) ignorance, 2) laziness, and 3) lack of initiative. Cure: Use Google, LinkedIn, and every possible search word and key term that you think will dig up some results. Look through profiles and press releases – you’d be surprised what you’ll find! You’ll impress the interviewer, and you might learn some interesting things about the company and the employees that work there in the process that you wouldn’t ordinarily learn from a quick tour of the office on Day One of your new job.
Keeping Your Cell Phone On – 50% Cure: Just leave your phone off and stowed away. There’s nothing that can’t wait until after the interview. We know you don’t like to be disconnected from Facebook for even a minute, but do yourself a favor and cut the ties. Turning off your phone limits distractions and will eliminate your embarrassment in the event your “Kundrathiley Kumaranukku kondatam” ringtone starts buzzing.
Not Asking Good Questions During the Interview – 49% Cure: Ask questions about the work you’ll be doing. Ask the interviewer what are her favorite things about that company. There are many possibilities. Perhaps the most effective question to ask is: “What do you think my biggest challenge would be in this position?” Most people know that you’re supposed to ask questions during the interview, but not all know what kinds of questions to ask. Asking what kind of perks you’ll get, what your salary will be, and related questions won’t endear you to the interviewer.
Asking About Pay Before You Have the Job – 38% Cure: Keep those burning salary questions at bay by really trying to avoid discussing pay until the interviewer brings it up. We’re all interested in it — after all, if we didn’t need money, we wouldn’t be interviewing in the first place, right? Wrong. Finding a job and a career that you love should be about more than the money, and the interviewer knows that. He wants a candidate that isn’t counting their chickens before they hatch.
Spamming Employers with the Same Resume and/or Cover Letter – 21% Cure: Keep your resume and, more importantly, your cover letter, tailored to the jobs you think look the most interesting. You’ll waste less time by concentrating your efforts to land a job that really fits what you want and you’ll likely get better responses, too. Copying your resume and cover letter a million times and saturating the market is not the best way to land a job you love. Actually, you probably won’t even land a job you like with that technique. And judging from the number of employers who report this problem, you’re probably not getting away with your little trick.
Failure to Remove Unprofessional Photos/Content on Social Networking Pages, Blogs, etc. – 19% Cure: Untag, delete, and ask your friends to do the same. If you doubt that this really has any impact, you should read Social Networking and Your Job: Lessons from the “Cisco Fatty”: the story of a poor soul who actually got hired, then got fired immediately for something he said on the Internet.Social Networking and Your Job: Lessons from the “Cisco Fatty” Enough said. Don’t give a potential employer a reason to doubt your credibility. Sites like Myspace and Facebook are just too big to keep your crazy St. Patrick’s Day antics a secret.
Not Sending a Thank You Note After the Interview – 12% Cure: A quick email to your interviewer doesn’t take a lot of effort, and it’s really worth your time. Doing it immediately after the interview will help you remember, too — or you can set a reminder on your phone when you turn it back on afterwards. Just letting someone know that you appreciate their time speaks volumes about you. With the majority of companies using the internet to find and hire new employees, a simple email can go a long way after an interview and in most cases has replaced the traditional paper card.