13 ways to blow your job interview (and how to avoid them)
Interviewing can be a stressful experience, which is why it’s so important to prepare yourself and practice not only what you’re going to say but how you’re going to say it. Before you make any career-changing mistakes, brush up on your interview etiquette. We’ve got you covered.
13 ways to blow your job interview (and how to avoid them):
1. Avoiding eye contact
Job interviews are nerve-wracking and holding eye contact can cause us to lose focus. However, it’s very important to make some eye contact in the interview or it will be seen as disrespectful and a little bit weird. Practice your interview beforehand with different people and specifically practice making eye contact during the process. Also, if it helps, make eye contact at the end of making your point so that you don’t lose your train of thought as you’re thinking up your answer.
2. Not asking any follow-up questions
Don’t forget to prepare questions of your own when you come into the interview process. It shows how interested you are in the position and that you’re seriously considering the role and want to know more.
3. A crippling or dainty handshake
Interviewers are turned off by handshakes that squeeze too hard so make sure to give your handshake a spin and practice with some friends before your next interview. On the flip side, not having a strong enough handshake can also decrease your chances of getting hired.
4. Too much talking with your hands
Try not to get too emphatic with your hands during the interview process. Calm down the hand movements to leave a good impression at the interview. This is something that you can practice if you’re one of those people that talks with their hands.
5. Not smiling
It’s really imperative that you smile at a job interview to put your interviewer and yourself at ease. Even though an interview is a stressful process, you should still look comfortable.
6. Answering a phone call or text message during the interview
Whatever you do, do not pull out your cell phone while you’re being interviewed unless you are specifically asked. Turn your cell phone off and don’t let anything pull your focus away from the interview. It’s rude and will definitely not get you hired.
7. Inappropriate clothing
You should be wearing professional work clothes, on the dressier side, for your interview. The clothes that you wear should be something you would also use for your first day of work, for example. Even though every office is a bit different, standard business attire is a safe bet. Err on the side of being overdressed.
8. Lying about your experience or education
What you might gain from misrepresenting your experience on your resume isn’t worth the backlash of what happens if you’re caught. You definitely will not be considered for the job at hand and you’ll end the relationship you have with that employer forever. You may even gain a reputation.
9. Poor posture
Slouching around is OK in the house but in an interview you should have your back straight and in an upright position. Anything else will just come off as sloppy.
10. Coming in unprepared
You absolutely need to walk into your interview knowing who you’re going to interview with, what you’re interviewing for, what the company does and what experience you have that applies to the position. Don’t even bother interviewing if you don’t have this information down.
11. Too much fidgeting
Making a lot of movements during the interview will distract the attention from your answers and onto the fidgeting. It also gives off an unprofessional impression. The solution? Focus hard on sitting still when you are doing a practice interview and in other professional contexts.
Really limit your answers to interview questions. Be informative, but concise. Your interviewer will respect your ability to synthesize information and deliver it in a clear and condensed manner. The interview will also move more swiftly, so you can cover more ground in the time allotted.
13. An arrogant attitude
Coming in with an overly-confident attitude is a great way to turn off your interviewer and not get the job. Confidence is great, but when you act as if you’re so much better than everyone else, it can really rub the people hiring the wrong way.
Now that you know how to fail an interview and, more importantly, how NOT to, apply today and boost your career!
Photo 3. based on Elie!, by Kai Chan Vong, CC-by-2.0