Whether the economy is good or not, whether the job market is tough or not, looking for a job is one of the most unsettling undertakings we have to face in our adult lives. What makes it so difficult is the fact that you don’t always get to find out why your CV didn’t get to the top of the pile, what the feedback from the hiring manager was or simply why you were declined for the job. For that reason, we have pinpointed a bunch of rookie interview errors for you to avoid and help you snag your dream job.
You Are Asking for Too Much Money
Money is a sticking point for many a job offer. Sure, at your last job you were walking away at the end of every month with a sizeable income but that doesn’t mean you will get such a big income at another company. There are so many aspects which need to be taken into account when it comes to salary but ultimately you need to be able to offer your potential employer value in order to warrant a high salary. If your skills, experience or education aren’t quite in line with your salary requirements, you may need to adjust your expectations.
You are Arrogant or Have a Bad Attitude
Some people don’t realise they’re doing it but by appearing to be arrogant or having a bad attitude will absolutely influence a hiring manager’s final decision. It is essential to know how you come across to other people and to ensure that you win them over rather than alienate them by showing some enthusiasm. Ask friends or family to give you a mock interview if you are struggling to understand how you come across in an interview – it’s by no means a foolproof method but it’s certainly a start. Think carefully about how you answer questions as well as your body language which both contribute greatly to the impression you will give a potential employer.
You Don’t Research the Company
Even when you think you have a pretty good knowledge of a company, it’s best to be as thorough as possible. By visiting their website and performing a few internet searches on them you are likely to have a broader understanding of their history and potentially even where they are going. This type of information is essential if you plan to form a long-term relationship with them. You unlikely to recover from getting caught out on some simple facts in the interview
You Lied on Your CV
For most of us this goes without saying but some people don’t think further than simply getting to the interview. With the right skills on your CV you’re golden, right? Wrong. Never ever list skills on your CV that you do not possess. You will be caught out, if not in the interview, on the job – and don’t kid yourself the only Java you are going to learn on the job is where the closest coffee shop is. Even embellishing on your skills and achievements can lead interviewers to believe things about you that aren’t 100% true. When they figure out that you’ve lied they will never ever give you a second chance to prove yourself. This can be devastating to say the least when you’ve ruined your name in a small industry or at your dream company.
Your Body Odour and Presentation are Lousy
This simple but often overlooked factor accounts for a fair amount of declines. It is better to dress better than you think you need to and take a longer shower than you think you need than to be perceived as scruffy and smelly. Nothing says ‘don’t hire me’ the way body odour does. No matter how good you are, no one wants to tip-toe around your hygiene quandaries – its embarrassing for everyone involved. As for scruffiness; how organised is your code if you can’t iron a shirt for an interview? The little things do matter!
You are Unable to Answer Questions Coherently
Sure, you know exactly what you do but can you explain it to a potential employer? If your explanation doesn’t make sense to them, they are less likely to have faith in your ability to perform said task. Whether they themselves are able to complete the task or not probably dictates how much detail you can and need to go into. That said, getting too complicated, purposefully using jargon and verbose language will also detract from your ability and draw attention to the flaws in your personality. The clearer and more coherent your answer the more capable you appear to any potential employer. The best way to get this right is to practice your answers to potential questions as well as your interview techniques.
You are Late for the Interview
Whether your interviewer is prepared to admit it or not, arriving even five minutes late can be a deal breaker. Ensure you have enough time in case you get lost, there’s an accident or you can’t find a parking spot. It’s important to keep in mind the value of people’s time; monetary and otherwise. Meetings are scheduled in advance to accommodate multiple attendees who would, more often than not, rather be doing something else. Senior executives never have surplus amounts of time so don’t take them for granted. On the other hand; can you get there too early? Ten minutes early is good. It says you are prompt and you are cognizant of your interviewer’s time. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early you definitely want to wait in your car or grab a cup of coffee and wait elsewhere. If your interviewer sees you waiting around for more than 15 minutes they will probably think you are too eager and have nothing better going on in your life. Desperate isn’t a good look on anyone.
You are Too Nervous
Getting pre-interview jitters is absolutely normal but you do have to get a handle on them if you want to leave a good impression and ensure that your interviewer sees you in a positive light. If you appear too nervous, your interviewer may believe that you are unqualified, not secure in your abilities or even lying about your skills. Either way, showing excessive nervousness is unhelpful on every front. Simple actions such as stuttering, fidgeting and not making eye contact may make your interviewer uncomfortable, lead to them simply disliking you and having no faith in you as a person. The same goes if you appear to be overconfident.
You Can’t Remember What Projects You Worked on
Along with your skills and strengths, you need to back up your claims with evidence of your accomplishments. If you cannot explain the work you’ve done and the projects you’ve worked on you are at risk of looking like that one person in the team who rode on the coat-tails of your team members. Explaining your work and role within your team successfully relies largely on your preparation for the interview. You will want to sift through old files and folders, emails and client responses to jog your memory. This way you can give your potential employer the full picture without looking like a deer in the headlights. You have to explain and show your value to them.
You Don’t Address Their Concerns
We’ve spoken about this briefly before, but we cannot emphasise it enough. Ask the interviewer if they have any concerns regarding your skills, experience or work history. This way you are able to clarify your answers face to face. You may not realise you have possibly given the interviewer the wrong impression, they have misunderstood something you’ve said or if there is an integral aspect of the job spec or work environment which you haven’t quite grasped. More than this, it makes you appear more interested in the job, the company and their needs as well as yours.
Interviews are tough but rejections are tougher. Declines hurt your self-confidence and they make you question so many aspects of your professional identity and worth. They can however be a great learning experience, take that interview with both hands and knock it out of the park, after all, they wanted to see you for a reason.