TOP 10 INTERVIEW BLOOPERS...AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Weíve all heard stories of job candidates who looked great on paper but who were absolute disasters in person.† With fewer and fewer interview opportunities available in this competitive market, itís essential to make the best possible first impression.† You can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the top 10 worst interview blunders.
The three-second handshake that starts the interview is your first opportunity to create a great impression.† But all too often an interview is blown right from the start by an ineffective handshake. Once youíve delivered a poor handshake, itís nearly impossible to recover your efforts to build rapport.† Here are some examples:
Even if youíre a seasoned professional, donít assume you have avoided these pitfalls.† Your handshake may be telling more about you than you know.† Ask for honest critiques from several friends who arenít afraid to tell you the truth.
Talking too much.
In my recruiting days, I abhorred over-talkative candidates.† So did most of my client employers.† Over-talking takes several forms
To avoid either of these forms of over-talking, practice answering questions in a direct manner.† Avoid nervous talking by preparing for your interview with role-play
Saying negative things about your current or past employers/managers.
The fastest way to talk yourself out of a new job is to say negative things.† Even if your last boss was Attila the Hun, never, never state your ill feelings about him/her.† No matter how reasonable your complaints, YOU will come out the loser if you show that you disrespect your boss.† When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.
Showing up late or too early.
The first lesson in job-search etiquette is to show up on time for interviews.† A lot of job seekers donít realize, however, that showing up too early often creates a poor first impression as well.† Arriving more than ten minutes early for an interview is a dead giveaway that the job seeker has too much time on their hands, much like the last one picked for the softball team.† Donít diminish your candidate desirability by appearing desperate.† Act as if your time were as valuable as theirs.† Always arrive on time, but never more than ten minutes early.
Treating the receptionist rudely.
Since the first person you meet on an interview is usually a receptionist, this is also the first impression youíll make.† Donít mistake low rank for low input.† Often, that receptionistís job is to usher you into your interview.† The receptionist has the power to pave your way positively or negatively before you even set eyes on the interviewer.†
Asking about benefits, vacation time or salary.
What if a car salesman asked to see your credit report before allowing you to test drive the cars?† That would be ridiculous and youíd walk away in disgust.† The effect is about the same when a job seeker asks about benefits or other employee perks during the first interview.† Wait until youíve won the employer over before beginning that discussion.
Not preparing for the interview.
Nothing communicates disinterest like a candidate who hasnít bothered to do pre-interview research.† On the flip side, the quickest way to a good impression is to demonstrate your interest with a few well thought out questions that reflect your knowledge of their organization.
An ill-at-ease candidate seldom makes a good impression.† The first signs of nervousness are verbal ticks.† We all have them from time to timeóumm, like, you know.† Ignore the butterflies in your stomach and put up a front of calm confidence by avoiding verbal ticks.†
One of the best ways to reduce or eliminate them is through role play.† Practice sharing your best success stories ahead of time, and youíll feel more relaxed during the real interview.†
Not enough/too much eye contact
Either situation can create a negative effect:† Avoid eye contact and youíll seem shifty or untruthful; offer too much eye contact, and youíll wear the interviewer out.† If you sometimes have trouble with eye-contact balance, work this out ahead of time in an interview practice session with a friend.†
Failure to match communication styles.
Itís almost impossible to make a good first impression if you canít communicate effectively with an interviewer.† But you can easily change that situation by mirroring the way the interviewer treats you.† For instance
When you allow the interviewer to set the tone of conversation, this can vastly improve your chances of making a favorable impression.† You can put the interviewer at easeóand make yourself seem more like themóby mirroring their communication style.†
Just as a strong resume wins you an opportunity to interview, strong interview skills will win you consideration for the job.† You already know that you wonít earn an interview unless your resume sets you apart as a candidate of choice.† Likewise, you should know that polishing your interview skills can mean the difference between getting the job offeróand being a runner-up.†
Start your job search with a resume that creates a stellar first impression, then back those facts up with your extraordinary interview skills.† You will have made yourself a better candidate by avoiding these ten interview pitfalls.† And no one will have to talk about you as the candidate who ďalmostĒ got the job.
Deborah Walker, CCMC
Resume Writer ~ Career Coach
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