Job interviews are stressful. Especially in this day and age, where it’s more challenging than ever to get noticed, when you do land that all-important interview, you want to make a good impression; you want to get noticed. However, even in our excitement and eagerness, many of us make basic and key mistakes that can actually help you lose a job. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid in the job interview process.
Attitude is Everything
Many people walk into job interviews and are far too arrogant about their abilities and suitability for the job. Certainly this is your chance to sell yourself, but if you are too cavalier in your approach, you may turn off the interviewer, who will see you as too overconfident and haughty regarding your abilities.
Conversely, being too humble will make you come off as mousy and not self-assured. It’s important in a job interview to strike a balance. Come off as confident, but not too officious. Avoid being too self-depreciating or modest. Make yourself shine, but be friendly and respectful at the same time.
If you come in with shoulders slumped, and don’t show enthusiasm for the new job, you’re not going to stand out. Even if you’ve had a horrible day, be excited about the interview and the position, and let it show.
Dressing for (Lack of) Success
No matter what job you are trying to land, dress professionally at the interview. Never show up in jeans and a T-shirt, even if you think that’s the mode of dress you’ll adopt at the job. Professional dress is always a good idea to impress the interviewer.
Some of the key errors people make in interviews relate to speaking habits. Remember, this is a delicate balance. Don’t talk too much, but don’t fail to ask questions. Be an active listener—hear what the interviewer says, and ask pointed questions, highlighting your skills.
One thing you never, ever should do is talk trash on your current or former employers, even if they are competitors to the company for which you’re interviewing. This does not make you look enthusiastic, it makes you look petty.
Don’t walk in asking about money and benefits. This can wait. Right now you are trying to land the job, not negotiate a contract. Asking about money not only shows your hand too soon, but it ties into the error of coming off as haughty and arrogant. Wait for the right opening to discuss money.
Failure to Follow-Up
Following up a few days after the interview is vital to keeping you fresh in the interviewer’s mind. People who fail to send a thank-you note are far less likely to land a job or second interview than those who do. It’s also a good idea to call a week or so after the interview to check in and see where you are.
Be professional and enthusiastic, but respectful and attentive. Dress for success, in your attitude as well as your appearance. Don’t make these basic and fatal errors, and your chance of success will increase greatly.
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