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Deadly Job Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

You’ve spent days searching for job ads and crafting the perfect resumes and cover letters. You now have a job interview scheduled. You are just a few steps away from your dream job, and in that interview, you will surprise them.

You may know what to do during an interview. Do you know what you shouldn’t do? No matter how much you impress your interviewer in other ways, these deadly job interview and pre-interview mistakes could kill your chances of getting hired.

not be prepared

Research the company beforehand, on its website and elsewhere. Read reviews about them on Glassdoor and Yelp.

Study the job advertisements that the company has posted. You can learn a lot about the company from job descriptions and the requirements for other positions, not just the position you are applying for. Search local job boards, as well as on big aggregator sites like Monster and Indeed.

Avoid feeling embarrassed. Examine your own online presence well in advance of the interview. Potential employers often conduct online searches for job candidates, including their social profiles. Unprofessional screen names, posts that disparage an employer, and inappropriate photos could lower your standing or remove you from the candidacy. Clean up your profiles.

Bring multiple copies of your resume to the interview; you never know who might want one. Bring your list of references, carefully formatted. Bring directions to the interview and the name and phone number of your contact person.

If you may be late for a reason beyond your control, a call to that person could save you the interview. Bring your identification and anything else the interviewer asks you to bring.

apparently disconnected

Your words may indicate that you are the one to hire, but your body language may contradict your words. Crossed arms, leaning too far back or forward, poor eye contact, distracting movements, and other body language can make you appear uncaring. To learn more, check out Body Language Tips for Your Next Job Interview.

Your behavior beyond your body language also creates positive or negative impressions. Hunching in the waiting room or appearing lethargic detracts from the impression you want to give. Be poised, confident and organized from the moment you enter the reception area. Smile at both the receptionist and the interviewer, but not too much. Be enthusiastic. Let your behavior show that you are ready to do the job.

Not having questions to ask also suggests detachment. Questions show that you have researched the position and are interested in it. Specific questions about job responsibilities and company culture show interest. Don’t ask about salary or benefits; let the interviewer mention them.

Complain about their old jobs

Your interviewer will probably have questions about your current and past jobs. You may be looking for a new job because you can’t stand your current job and you hate your boss. But telling that to the interviewer will probably eliminate you as a candidate for this job.

Keep those negative experiences to yourself. A job interview is not the place to talk about them.

Instead, stay positive and focus on the future. Talk about how you are looking for new challenges and new ways to use and develop your skills. If you have to talk about work problems, talk about them as challenges and what you learned from them, without assigning blame.

For example, if your current boss has poor communication skills, talk about how you learned to ask questions and do your own research to clarify what needs to be done.

acting inappropriately

Interviewers are to assess your personality and manners, as well as your skills and experience. Acting inappropriately can be just as deadly to your job opportunities as the other interview mistakes described here.

Being a little personal during the interview can help or hurt you. If the interviewer takes the conversation on a personal level, finding common interests or hobbies can be an advantage.

Get excited about them and use them to show that you are a whole person. On the other hand, talking about medical or family problems, for example, is unprofessional. Most likely, such details contribute to a negative image of you.

Watch your language too. A job interview is not the place to use.

While interviews and first dates have a lot in common, flirting should be left for dating. You may attract positive attention in other situations, but may make the interviewer uncomfortable. Be polite, listen, and participate in the conversation on a professional level.

Not setting the way forward

The end of the interview is the beginning of the next steps. Neglect these steps or take the wrong ones, and that job you almost had could be gone.

When the interview is over, ask the interviewer about the hiring time frame. Also ask the interviewer for their business card and send a handwritten thank you note the next day.

Handwritten notes are not common, which makes writing them down a great way to stand out. However, if your handwriting is terrible, write the note instead, but sign it yourself. Avoid generic notes. Use the interviewer’s name and mention the specific interview.

Later, a follow-up call to show you’re still interested could help tip the scales in your favor. Do not call more than once, even if you had to leave a message the first time. Too many calls can make you seem like a nuisance. As with all steps, be professional.

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