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How Not to Blow Your Job Interview

Job interviews can be a source of anxiety for applicants, and understandably so. In a competitive job market, applicants don’t want to misstep or make a mistake in the interview that could cost them a potential job.

But according to a survey released recently by CareerBuilder, at times interviewers have to withstand quite a bit of shenanigans by prospective employees.

Emptying the employer’s entire candy dish into one’s pocket. Asking to be paid “under the table.” Calling a spouse to see what’s for dinner. These are all real-life examples of horrendous behaviors hiring managers have reported witnessing during interviews. While these behaviors definitely send the wrong message to employers, CareerBuilder also listed some other, more common errors job applicants make during an interview:

  • Appearing disinterested (62% of employers find as the No.1 turnoff): “Applicants should research the company and position prior to the interview,” said John Mace, director of career services for Harrison College. “Being prepared can help you bring the right attitude and right enthusiasm to the interview.”
  • Cell phone use (60%): “I make the suggestion to my students and graduates to leave the cell phone in the car. Don’t even take it in with you. The interview is important enough to devote your full attention to.”
  • Dressing inappropriately (60%): “I feel today sometimes the definition of professional or interview attire is being kind of stretched. I always tell students to dress one level above the job, meaning if it’s a job where you can wear jeans, wear khakis and a nice button-up to the interview. Men and women should make sure their hair is done and men should have facial hair shaven or trimmed.”
  • Talking negatively about a current or previous employer (58%): “People sometimes leave their jobs under negative circumstances. If you speak negatively of those employers, sometimes interviewers will think ‘if you will speak negatively about them, what will you say about me?’ It’s best to say nothing at all than to bash an employer, or you could focus on and point out the positives of the job.”
  • Failure to make eye contact (72%) or smile (42%), bad posture (38%), and a weak handshake (28%): “If you’re engaged in what the person is saying, you’re going to make eye contact. In practice interviews at Harrison, we practice handshakes and discuss what type of information these gestures relay. A weak handshake, or what we refer to as a limp fish, doesn’t show aggression. On the other hand, you don’t want to be a bone crusher. A nice, firm handshake relays confidence, readiness, and enthusiasm that says ‘I’m very glad to meet you.’”
  • Not providing specific examples (34%): “This is where doing your research on the business and knowing what you’re applying for comes into play. I talk with my students about taking ownership of their skills and making them relevant to the job for which they are interviewing for.”

Related: Job Seekers Don’t Have Long to Make First Impressions | Schools: Top Online Business Degrees | Location Search Online Business Degrees By State


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