Unless you’re one of those really annoying people who somehow managed to swerve interviews throughout the entirety of your career, then you will be able to relate to this article. Better still, you will learn from it and successfully avoid the interview fails highlighted below.
Not doing your research
You must learn all you can about the role and the company before your interview. Nothing annoys an interviewer more than a complacent candidate who hasn’t done their homework. Researching the company will not only give you a leg-up in the interview, but it will also help you decide if you and the new role will hit it off or not.
If you think Martin Luther King Jr winged his “I Have a Dream” speech without practising beforehand then you’re very much mistaken. Whilst your interview won’t have as much of an impact on a global scale, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow his lead and practice. I advise writing down ANY questions you think they could ask and rehearse your answers
** Make sure your answers don’t sound too rehearsed though! **
Showing up late/too early
Being late is interview-suicide. It’s a clear indicator that you don’t care and that you will be an unreliable employee. Of course there might be occasions where your tardiness genuinely wasn’t your fault; perhaps the bus driver DID fall asleep at the wheel and cause a mass pile-up, or perhaps you DID have to spend the night in A&E with your next door neighbour’s Nan. Just don’t count on getting the benefit of the doubt. First impressions mean a lot. Even if all is forgiven, don’t start jumping for joy just yet, as you’ll more than likely be stressed, flustered and all sweaty from rushing – so it’s unlikely that you’ll interview well.
Conversely, no one likes an “apple-polisher” who is there ridiculously early. This will inconvenience the company as someone will have to look after you instead of continuing their day as scheduled. You should aim to show up no more than 15 minutes before your interview. I normally suggest people arrive 10 minutes before, but there are no definitive rules, so use your initiative here.
Bringing a mate
If you show up with your bestie, you are going to look a complete plumb. You You shouldn’t need someone for moral support. If Dave drove you there, then it’s essential Dave stays in the car.
If you aren’t sure, always go for the smarter option. There are some ‘edgy’ companies out there where you can probably interview in sandals, but it is still advisable to be smart and presentable as a precautionary measure. You can still show some personality in your outfit. How you dress is an insight into your character, but keep it professional.
Of course you have to highlight your accomplishments and paint a clear picture of how you will benefit the company. Your interviewer, however, does not want a long list of reasons why you are amazing.
If you want the job and you want them to want you then you’re going to have to be peppy (not in an annoying way) and enthusiastic. A lack of zeal is a real turn-off for employers. Would you want to hire someone who doesn’t seem keen?
You also need to be prepared for the “why do you want to work for us” question – this is your queue to butter them up and show your interest.
Offering a weak handshake
The thought of a weak handshake makes me shudder. There are few acts more nauseating than being offered a shuddering, clammy and flaccid hand. If you aren’t confident in your hand-shaking abilities then you should practice on a corporate friend and ask them to critique you. The handshake is very important!
Not asking questions
At the end of the interview, you should be asked if you have any questions. You will be assessed on their quality and it’s your opportunity to ask detailed and original questions that show your insight into the company and sector. Don’t set-up-camp on pay-rises and annual leave!
** Don’t go over the top with your questioning; you’re meant to be the one being interviewed! **
Please don’t let this list intimidate you! All interviews are beneficial and act as strong learning curves. If you are well prepared, there is no reason you shouldn’t be calm and confident.
If you have anything else to add to the list, or even better some amusing interview stories – then please don’t hesitate to use the comments section.
Here are some other articles you may find interesting:
A “dos and don’ts” guide to CV-writing.
An instructional blog for writing a killer cover letter
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