7 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

As the job hunter, you probably don’t think about what the interviewer is stewing over on the other side of the desk. I had dinner recently with John, a hiring manager who had three days of interviews ahead of him where he was searching for a sales manager. He openly shared his thoughts with me. First off, John has an interesting job. He works as a Director overseeing managers across the US. He hires, trains and manages them for his billion dollar company. A recruiter at the home office sets up the interviews and he flies in and meets the candidates. He’s looking for a potential manager offering a pretty terrific paying job with fast promotion opportunity. We spent a lot of time talking about mistakes that candidates make. And he wonders why smart people do the things they do.

Apparently hiring a manager is much harder than you think. My cell phone started blowing up the next day as John is frustrated that one candidate calls and asks to reschedule. His wife is working and he can’t find childcare. I text back REALLY??? He replies, I’ve heard it before. Later that day he sends me his interviewing pet peeves. I laughed when he sent the frustrated face icon with a gun to its head. They are simple things — mistakes you should NOT be making. Yet they drove this decision maker crazy and prevented individuals from landing the job. So don’t make these blunders.

  1. Asking about vacation time — this sure starts the interview off on the wrong foot. It’s all about your needs and not about how you can do the job and be a good fit for the employer. Sell them that you are the right fit first, then once they offer you the job, bring up any needs you have for a pre-planned vacation.
  2. Sounding Dull or Boring — you need to be engaging, so pay attention to your tone. Maintain good eye contact with the person asking you the question and smile often.
  3. Not sending a thank you — people are forgetting their manners. Handwritten notes sent via postal mail work best, but if timing is critical, email is ok too. Ask for a business card and you have all the info necessary to send this out immediately.
  4. Being Late — either find the location the night before or use the GPS and allow plenty of time to get there.
  5. Inappropriate dress — this was a Manager’s job — absolutely you needed to dress up and that means a suit and tie for a man; suit or pantsuit or professional dress for a woman. So many people think if the daily attire is business casual they can show up at the interview that way — it can cost you the job. Dressing up is the wiser option.
  6. Forgetting copy of resume — never assume the interviewer has it with them. Bring several copies with you, plus a copy of your reference contacts so they can check them. It’s savvy to offer any letters of recommendations and work samples you can leave behind.
  7. Completely clueless about company/position — you’ll never get hired if you don’t prepare. Do some research and spend some time digesting the company’s website. Review the products, services and different divisions. Look over the area you’d work in. If it’s a large company, glance at the annual report.

Simple mistakes can sometimes make the difference between who gets the job — you or someone else. Let the other person be the one who goofs up — not you.

© copyright Robin Ryan, 2017, all rights reserved

Robin Ryan is a career counselor offering individual services including Interview Coaching and Resume Writing. She is a Speaker and the bestselling author of seven career books including 60 Seconds & You’re Hired and Over 40 & You’re Hired. She has appeared on 1500 TV and radio shows including Oprah, Dr Phil, CNN and ABC News. CLICK HERE to get her 10 page article “HIRED — Using the Hidden Job Market”.

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