13 Mistakes To Avoid In Job Interviews
The drum is beating for a new job in 2013. It's up to you to make it happen, and it's not as hard as you may think. Simple steps make all the difference, especially when it comes to successful interviews.
Avoid these killer interview mistakes and you'll be that much closer to a new job.
1. Don't prepare what to wear. This is a bigger mistake than you may realize. When you reach into your closet to select your interview attire and find something has chewed its way through the sleeve, or you forgot the huge ketchup stain on your lucky tie, you could be in trouble if you don't have a plan B. How you look is important, and you need to present a professional appearance. Even if you aren't interviewing to be a fashion diva, consider preparing what to wear a priority.
2. Ignore your Ps and Qs. You never know who is walking in right behind you on your way to the interview. It won't make a very good impression if you let the door slam on your interviewer. Everything you do or say at the interview – or on the way to the interview – can be part of the evaluation. Some companies ask the receptionist for an opinion about candidates. If you sat around rolling your eyes or acting annoyed while you waited, you're not likely to land the job.
3. Help yourself to a chair before someone offers it to you. It's just common courtesy to wait to be offered a seat.
5. You don't know why you want the job. Okay, we all know you want a job, but why this particular position? If you don't know why this job is a good fit, you're wasting everyone's time with the interview. You should know what the job involves, why your skills are a good fit and why you are a better candidate than the last person interviewed.
6. Your answers ramble on. Do not torture your interviewer by drawing out your answers. Answer the question and be done – do not elaborate or expand on your answers more than necessary. How long should answers be? Just long enough to address the question and make sure the interviewer has a chance to picture you doing the job.
8. You're badmouthing your previous employer. It doesn't matter if you worked for Atilla the Hun, your interviewer does not need to know how terribly your old employer treated you. Keep it to yourself, and do not be tempted to share stories – no matter what the interviewer asks you.
9. You're offering up lots of information. Yes, there is such a thing is "TMI" in an interview. This phenomenon happens when the job seeker gets nervous and starts sharing information that isn't really relevant or, worse, is detrimental.
11. You don't have your story straight. No one is suggesting you lie in an interview, but many job seekers have stories they'd rather not tell. For example, if they were fired, or if they had a major personality clash with their former boss. If you have this type of history in your background, the best solution is to decide how to address it before you get to the interview, so if it comes up, there's nothing to be surprised about. Your goal? Get in and get out – not literally, but figuratively: quickly address the question and then stop talking.
12. You have nothing to ask. Seriously – if you want the job, you should have several well-considered inquiries for your interviewer that cannot be answered with a quick Google search about the company. You'll be surprised by how few candidates make a point to research organizations before they interview, so any pointed questions referencing your research should help impress your interviewer.
13. You don't follow up. Statistically, few people actually send thank you notes after interviews. You have a chance to make a positive impression when you follow up with targeted, error-free notes thanking your interviewer for his or her time. Include several key reminders of why you are the best candidate for the job.
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Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success and 100 Conversations for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.
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