Picture if you will that you are conducting interviews for a vacant high tech position. A candidate sits across from you who, on paper, at least, appear to be your dream candidate. You reach out to shake his hand. He gives you a high five and kicks his feet up on your desk. His arrogant and rude demeanour takes you aback. To cap it off, he is wearing torn jeans! You think to yourself, “Good grief, this is definitely going to be a short interview!”
Part of RMSG’s service offerings is to help organizations hire the best talent available. To do this properly, we screen candidates through in-person interviews. Many of the candidates we encounter are a delight to converse with, while others, to say the least, need help.
Here is a list of some of our interview pet peeves and how not to repeat these mistakes if you are a career seeker.
Mistake #1 – LATE TO INTERVIEW
Arrive on time. Your time is precious. Your interviewer’s time is precious. Be respectful of that. If you are late with good reason, call ahead.
Mistake #2 – POOR OR CASUAL APPEARANCE
Image is very important. Companies want to portray themselves professionally and they need their people to do the same. Thus, professional conservative attire for interviews is preferred. Wear a suit! You cannot go wrong even if you find out afterwards that the dress code is more relaxed. No company should fault you for arriving professionally dressed.
Mistake #3 – ARROGANCE
Confidence is desired, arrogance is not.
Mistake #4 – LACK OF COMMUNICATION
Engage in dialogue. Answering questions with simple one-word answers is not impressive. The interviewer wants to learn about you and insightful conversation is the way to do it.
Mistake #5 – TOO MUCH COMMUNICATION
The opposite situation. Answer questions completely, accurately but concisely. Do not ramble on. Again, time is precious and you also are demonstrating an inability to get to the point. Keep it simple. 2 -3 minutes per question should suffice.
Mistake #6 – LACK OF INTEREST AND ENTHUSIASM
Show that you care and that you want the job. Have a positive demeanour and be alert. Ask a question about the position as this shows interest and that you are prepared.
Mistake #7 – NO EYE CONTACT, POOR POSTURE AND A WEAK HANDSHAKE
Make eye contact. This is difficult for most people but is important. Again, it shows respect and interest. Here is a tip, if you cannot look someone in the eye due to shyness or fear then look at the “third eye” which is just above and between the two eyes. While interviewing, always have a good posture. Sit and stand straight. It shows you are interested and alert. Finally, a good, firm handshake is a powerful message of confidence.
Mistake #8 – POOR COMMUNICATION, SLANG, AND STREET SPEAK
Try to control your “ums”, “ahhs”, and “likes”. A good tip is to pause after each question before answering. Slang and street speak are very damaging to one’s image during an interview. Use proper English.
Mistake #9 – DECEPTION
Never lie. If you do not know how to operate specific software, for example, tell your interviewer. Embellishing accomplishments is also dangerous as many firms will follow up on listed items such as a CMA designation. Did you pass the exam or are you in the process of writing the exam? There’s a big difference. Be honest.
Mistake #10 – TOO EAGER FOR PERKS
Avoid asking questions about bonuses, reserved parking spots, sick days; company trips until after you have been hired. Focusing too much on these items with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude portrays one as not being a team player.
Mistake #11 – TOO NEGATIVE
Do not go on and on about how bad your previous job and employer was. This is unprofessional and quite uncomfortable for interviewers. You run the risk of being perceived as a “complainer”.
Mistake #12 – TOO DESPERATE
This is a tough one. You definitely want to appear eager but if you interview with a “Please-oh-please hire me” attitude you will appear less confident. Try maintaining the three C’s: Cool, Calm and Confident. You know you can do the job. Make sure the image you project says the same.
Mistake #13 – INEFFECTIVE CLOSING
Summarize your qualifications and desire to work at the end. Ask questions about the next steps and any other information you desire. This is your final chance to leave a lasting impression.
Mistake #14 – NO THANKS
Please remember to thank the interviewer for their time and for meeting with you.
These are just some of the common mistakes to be mindful of when interviewing. What do you do if you commit one of these errors? Learn from them. Interviewing is a skill that can be honed and improved by constant reviewing of your past performance. It does not hurt to also ask for feedback after your meeting. Many interviewers will be more than happy to offer advice. Or better yet, take advantage of RMSG’s Job Interview Coaching program.
Remember, be cool, calm and confident and leave the slang on the street.