While there are a thousand articles out there telling you what to do and say during the interview process, our professional resume services experts felt it would be wise to also provide job hunters with a list of what not to do during an interview. So, before you head out on the interview circuit, study up on the following common mistakes people make at an interview.
Mistake #1 – Arriving Unprepared
Your first impression is important. If you arrive late or aren’t dressed in appropriate business attire, this can truly affect the outcome of the interview. It doesn’t matter if everyone in the company wears yoga pants and scruffy t-shirts to work, when you interview for a job, wear business-appropriate attire.
Additionally, bring along a briefcase that contains a notepad and several pens and pencils. Include several copies of your resume, just in case, as well as your business cards. It also can be wise to either leave your cell phone in your car or at least ensure that the phone is turned completely off during the interview.
Mistake #2 – Making Excuses
If you’ve been fired from a job or perhaps left because of issues between you and your boss or co-workers, don’t make excuses. Instead of showing anger at a previous job situation or trying to push blame on others, put a positive spin on the situation. Discuss what you learned from the experience, such as how you personally will be a better employee and co-worker in the future. In some cases, of course, you might have been let go due to circumstances beyond your control, such as downsizing or other issues that had nothing to do with your job performance. If this was the case, simply explain what occurred.
Mistake #3 – Dishonest Answers
If you were fired, don’t lie about why. If a hiring manager calls your former boss, they may well learn the truth. It’s always best to own up to your mistakes and focus on what you learned from the experience then to lie about it. If your former boss truly was evil, rather than expresses that thought, simply state that you and your boss never seemed to hit it off, and it was for the best that you went your separate ways.
Additionally, don’t lie about skills you don’t possess. If you don’t know how to do something, simply say so. Sometimes your work ethic and personality matter will matter more than a few skills you don’t have. Hiring managers aren’t just looking for a perfect fit skill-wise; they also are looking for someone who will fit well within the corporate environment.
Mistake #4 – Showing Arrogance
There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, be sure not to cross it. It’s perfectly fine to highlight your abilities and accomplishments, but they should always be placed within a relevant context. For instance, if you developed a successful new sales strategy, be sure to mention it but also state how it helped the company in general. If you developed an inventory management system, explain how this system increased profitability and efficiency for the company. Professional resume services providers know that your attitude can just as important as your qualifications, so be friendly and positive without crossing the line into arrogance.
Mistake #5 – Ignorance Is Not Bliss
If you walk into an interview and no nothing about the company where you are interviewing, you have an immediate disadvantage. Do some research about the company and its management team. Learn about the goals the company has for the future and then, during the interview, express how you can contribute to achieving these goals.
Mistake #6 – Answering Questions Poorly
Over the years, our team of professional resume services experts has found that there are many typical questions that you will face during an interview. Why do you want to work here? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Tell me about yourself. These are common questions, so practice your answers to these questions many times before you start interviewing. Remember to always keep answers short and succinct and answer in a way that expresses how you are a good fit for the company.
For instance, if a hiring manager asks you to name your strengths, list a few of your strengths and provide specific examples of how that has helped you in the past. It is always best to be able to provide specific examples of your previous work. Additionally, when someone asks you to talk about yourself, limit your answer to information about your educational background and work experience rather than discussing your love of collecting butterflies or extreme kayaking. It’s possible that the hiring manager might ask you about your interests and hobbies, but typically they want to learn about you as a professional first.
Mistake #7 – Failing To Ask Questions
It’s wise to compile a list of questions to ask a hiring manager. These might include questions about job expectations, information about a typical work day or week, and specific duties required for the job. You also can ask the manager what they like best about working for the company. Don’t ask questions about vacation pay and benefits during the first interview. That typically is information that is disclosed during a follow-up interview.
Overall, if you’ve practice your interview answers and arrive looking and feeling professional, you interview probably will be a success. Of course, using our professional resume services is an important first step before the interviews begin. We can create top-notch resumes and cover letters that attract the attention of hiring managers. In addition, to these two important documents, take a look at some of our other helpful professional resume services, such as LinkedIn profile writing and social media analysis.