Frequent Interviewing Mistakes:
In a competitive job market with many people vying for
attractive career opportunities, you need to make sure
that you avoid making errors that reduce your prospects
for getting the job you want.
As recruiters, we see many avoidable situations where
otherwise well-qualified people say or do things that
end up in them losing the opportunity that they are
Not Preparing Beforehand/Researching The Employer:
The internet is a valuable
resource, use your search engine to discover data about
the company's products, new services, philosophy,
strengths and plans for the future. Surprise the
interviewer by knowing something about the company.
Being Evasive About Unexplained Gaps In Your Work
One of the quickest ways to lose a
potential employer's interest is to appear to be
defensive or evasive about gaps in your work history.
People do get released, downsized, restructured and
fired. Explain objectively what happened and don't show
bitterness or resentment towards the ex-employer.
Being Late For The Meeting:
Take a test-drive to the meeting
location if you are unfamiliar with the area. Plan ahead
to avoid traffic problems. Being late is discourteous
and you are getting off on the wrong foot.
Not Showing Up and Not Calling:
This is worse than being late.
Unless the employer is desperate to hire, you can write
off this opportunity. It shows a lack of responsibility.
Not Dressing Properly:
Stick to the basics - business
attire for both men and women. Dressing down for a
meeting even if the interviewer seems to be casual about
it is taking a risk with your credibility. Interviewers
can be offended by this, especially if the company has a
certain dress code.
Having Poor Personal
Dirty hair, fingernails, bad
breath, not shaving, having offensive body odour and
showing up with stains or shabby clothing indicates a
lack of self-esteem and care and the employer wants you
to care about what you do in your job. It also shows a
lack of organization and self-respect.
Not Having Your Resume
and Reference Letters With You:
Hiring Managers often are so busy
that they forget to have a copy of your resume. This can
lead to an unproductive meeting if you don't have it
with you to refer to either. Being prepared with
Reference Letters shows that you are organized and
confident about what you have to offer the company in
terms of skills, track record and personal reputation.
Not Making Eye Contact:
This is a classic error. Not
maintaining reasonable eye contact in listening to and
responding to questions give the impression of a lack of
interest, focus or honesty. When you first meet someone,
give them your full attention without staring them down.
Some cultures discourage steady eye contact as a sign of
rudeness to superiors. In Canada, steady eye contact,
head nodding and smiling are taken as friendliness and
good interpersonal skills.
Staring Down The
Locking eyes in a laser-like
fashion with interviewers can be read as being
over-aggressive, domineering and can be unnerving. Some
people think that this displays interest but it actually
shows a lack of social grace as prolonged staring can be
interpreted as being hostile or challenging.
Not Shaking Hands Well:
Another classic. A medium grip of
about 2-3 seconds in duration is best, accompanied with
a smile. A perfunctory, limp grip can give the
impression of a lack of confidence, energy or vitality.
A vise-like pumping off the hand can indicate nervous
tension, over aggressiveness or domineering tendencies.
Being Too Casual - Poor Posture:
Slouching in an interview,
stretching out and crossing your legs or appearing too
relaxed is interpreted as being lazy, having a lack of
initiative or just being bored with the proceedings. The
opposite, sitting ram-rod straight and/or folding your
arms and/or tightly crossing your legs gives the
impression of being tense, rigid or even fearful.
Trying To Aggressively
Control The Beginning Of The Interview:
Some people feel that they have to
control the meeting from the outset, this often happens
when a more senior person is meeting with a junior first
level interviewer whose job it is to pre-screen
candidates. Diplomacy and tact or called for in these
situations. If you offend the less experienced
interviewer by trying to establish dominance and control
over the meeting, you may not get to the next level.
Poor English Grammar:
Pay attention to how you speak.
Your ability to communicate effectively and in an
educated manner is vitally important. You are being
graded on your command of the language. Choose your
words carefully. If English is a second language for
you, practice with friends or colleagues who are fluent
speakers how you would present your qualifications and
have them ask questions about your background. This is
one of the key areas of focus of most interviewers.
Speaking Too Quickly or Too Slowly:
A rapid-fire monologue indicates
nervousness, lack of confidence or even an attempt to
quickly cover an uncomfortable area of discussion
dealing with qualifications, track record, abilities or
education. By contrast, speaking too slowly can be
interpreted as a lack of intelligence, being pedantic or
plodding or questioning the interviewer's intelligence
and ability to absorb information.
Giving Curt Uninformative Responses:
This is usually seen as rude, a
lack of interest or the sign of a touchy personality.
Displaying A Lack Of
Again, this shows boredom or a
lack of interest.
Arguing or Being Stubborn
With The Interviewer:
This can occur when a senior is
being interviewed by a more junior interviewer. The idea
is that the interviewer may need to be corrected about a
technical point or that they aren't understanding the
information being given. The junior person may decide
that the person is unmanageable or won't be a
team-player and the opportunity to advance to the next
level may be lost.
This indicates impatience or even
arrogance, two qualities not in high demand with
potential employers. Wait your turn to make your points.
This tendency to want to dominate the proceedings
indicates also a lack of empathy and business courtesy.
Will you also be interrupting customers when they are
speaking with you?
Being Nervous and Timid:
Employers want to hire people who
are confident in their abilities. being nervous and
timid comes out through speaking in a whisper, not
meeting the employer's gaze, appearing rattled or
Nervous Hand Gestures:
These range from tightly
clasped hands to violent hand gestures when speaking.
Keep your hands away from your face, avoid wringing
them, drumming your fingernails, picking at any part of
your face or body and playing with pens, etc. as this
indicates nervousness, tension or a lack of confidence.
Being Coy or Flirtatious:
Answers given with a wink or with
seductive gestures will annoy most hiring managers. It
will not win the respect of the interviewer and may
alienate some. Men and women both do this in the
mistaken belief that by making a personal connection and
showing that they are approachable and open, they will
win the interviewer over.
Being A Comedian:
Small jokes or humorous remarks
about the weather or traffic are good ice-breakers in
the beginning of an interview. Carrying on like a
stand-up comedian joking about this or that topic can
wear thin quickly. Interviewers will see this as being
lightweight and maybe covering up a lack of substance.
See Part II for the continuation of this article