You’ve gotten in the door, congrats! Now, you must sell yourself. Close the deal by demonstrating why you are the best choice to fill their needs.
Entrepreneur Magazine listed 10 interviewing mistakes to avoid. A good start, but here are my comments and a bonus 10 to help you:
- Not downloading the company’s app
Know everything about the company.
- Being negative
Be positive about your current job and why you’re looking to move.
- Actually, just telling them about yourself
“Tell me about yourself” means crafting a story about how your background is relevant to this job.
- Forgetting Google exists
Search for recent mentions of the company in the news.
- Forgetting LinkedIn exists
Check out common experiences among others who work for the company.
- Not speaking to your audience
Relate every answer to benefitting the company.
- Not preparing for the obvious
Search “Job Interview Questions” and practice answering until confident.
- Going too fast
Control your anxiety. Pausing to think before answering isn’t as long as it seems.
- Not being yourself
Be truthful and act normal. Seeming phony or saying what you think they want to hear is a red flag.
- Not understanding the next steps
If not told before you leave, ask!
- Not managing your arrival time
Rehearse the route in advance—at the same time you’ll be going for real. Allow extra time for traffic delays, accidents, full parking lots, busy check-in desk, slow elevators, etc.
- Not dressing properly
Dress one level better than the current employees. If they are business casual, then wear jacket & tie/pants suit or blouse & skirt; if they have jacket & tie, then wear a suit/dress or suit. After you get hired, you can wear the jeans, shorts, and flip flops like everyone else.
13. Not maintaining eye contact
The interviewer should be concentrating on your answers, not questioning your interest or ease to be distracted. Put on your game face and shut out all else.
- Not having a confident, professional handshake
The handshake is a lost art, given our current hugs, chest bumps, high-fives, and fist bumps. Practice with a friend or family member until comfortable.
- Not finding a common interest over which to bond
Find something that you have in common with the interviewer. Before, check their bio/profile on corporate website, LinkedIn, and Facebook. When in their office, look for books on shelf, sports trophies, toys on desk, plaques on walls, photos of pets, any mutual interest to break the ice.
- Not taking notes
When you sit down, take out a pad & pen so you look interested to write down any comments or notes—even if you doodle or never take any, you’ll be ready.
- Not having questions prepared
Show respect for, and an interest in the company, by having a few questions ready about their business or recent mentions in the news. All should be about the company, not you!
- Not asking for the job
Don’t take anything for granted. Even high-profile seasoned politicians know to introduce themselves, shake hands, and ask for your vote.
- Not writing a thank you note to every person you met
Email is good, but handwritten is better. Send separate notes to receptionist, administrative folks, human resource staff, and interviewers—everyone, since they will compare feedback about you.
- Not following up on status weekly
If they give you ranges or specific dates for follow-up, be patient. If not, then it’s fair to email or call their office to check on process and reiterate your continued interest.
There are ways to have a successful interview. There are even more ways to implode, so don’t disqualify yourself.
Ferris Kaplan is founder of Best Of You Resumes.
Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.