Sometimes our faces and body language give away more than we’re trying to reveal, especially in a tense or nerve-wracking situation like a first job interview. In some cases, we might not even realize that our brow is furrowed or that we’re repeatedly tapping our toes much to the annoyance of a future employer.
A recent survey of hundreds of different employers, asking which interview mistakes were their biggest pet peeves. Not surprisingly, most of these things were considered “the little things” – but as we all know, there’s a reason why they say it’s the little things that matter.
Acting Bored or Cocky – 63%
Yawn! Interviews are so boring!
Practice, practice, practice! A calm, unstressed and interested person’s breathing is slow and steady (this may actually prove to help you get rid of the jitters, too). Take relatively deep breaths (not the yoga class kind — you don’t want to scare the employer away) and pay attention to where your arms are. Let them rest on the arms of the chair you’re in and keep both feet on the floor, knees together, to minimize foot tapping. Leaning forward slightly can help show that you’re interested.
Next, how are you dressed?
Not Dressing Appropriately – 61%
She’s here for the open marketing position… ?
Just wear a suit. You’ll almost never go wrong! If you want to give it more pizazz and you’re applying for an artsy or creative job, dress it up with some bright or funky accessories. However, if you’re interviewing in a more formal environment like banking or law, keep your accessories very minimal.
Next, where am I?
Coming to the Interview with No Knowledge of the Company – 58%
You sell what?!
The CureUse Google and every possible search word and key term that you think will dig up some results. Look through profiles and press releases – you’d be surprised what you’ll find! You’ll impress the interviewer, and you might learn some interesting things about the company and the employees that work there in the process that you wouldn’t ordinarily learn from a quick tour of the office on Day One of your new job.
Next, RING RING!
Keeping Your Cell Phone On – 50%
Give your phone a break!
The CureJust leave your phone off and stowed away. There’s nothing that can’t wait until after the interview.
Not Asking Good Questions During the Interview – 49%
“What temperature do you usually keep the office?”
The CureAsk questions about the work you’ll be doing. Ask the interviewer what are her favorite things about that company. There are many possibilities.
Perhaps the most effective question to ask is: “What do you think my biggest challenge would be in this position?” This is the ace of interview questions for two reasons. First, it makes the interviewer think that you are very interesting in finding out how you would or would not be a good fit for a job. That is, it dispels the notion that you are just looking for any job. Second, it makes the interviewer tell you what qualms he or she has about hiring you. By discovering that resistance in the interview, you can overcome it then and there and increase your chances of getting the job.
Asking About Pay Before You Have the Job – 38%
The CureKeep those burning salary questions at bay by really trying to avoid discussing pay until the interviewer brings it up.
Spamming Employers with the Same Resume and/or Cover Letter – 21%
Spam is for obscure Hawaiian dishes, not your resume.
The CureKeep your resume and, more importantly, your cover letter, tailored to the jobs you think look the most interesting. You’ll waste less time by concentrating your efforts to land a job that really fits what you want and you’ll likely get better responses, too.
Failure to Remove Unprofessional Photos/Content on Social Networking Pages, Blogs, etc. – 19%
There’s a wonderful invention called “untagging.”
The CureUntag, delete, and ask your friends to do the same. If you doubt that this really has any impact, you should read Social Networking and Your Job: Lessons from the “Cisco Fatty”: the story of a poor soul who actually got hired, then got fired immediately for something he said on the Internet.
Not Sending a Thank You Note After the Interview – 12%
A simple gesture has a large impact.