1. Dressing Inappropriately.
When you interview a job, it's imperative to look professional and polished. Generally speaking blue jeans and flip flops are not appropriate dress for an interview. Neither is very short skirts or low cut blouses, but, a three piece suit may not be appropriate, either. What is appropriate depends upon the open position. What you wear when interviewing for a banking position will differ from what's appropriate when interviewing to be an assistant for an up-and-coming fashion designer.
2. Arriving Late. Everyone knows that first impressions are very important in landing a job, but did you know that you can make a bad first impression before you even arrive at your interview? Running late not only suggests poor time management skills, but shows a lack of respect for the company, the position and even your interviewer. Go the extra length to make sure that you aren't late, and arrive on time, or even early. Budget your time so that you make it to the interview five to ten minutes early. That way, if something unforeseen comes up on your way over to your interview, you'll have some cushion time.
3. Not Knowing Anything About the Company. Don't let your potential employer stump you with the question, "What do you know about this company?" It's one of the easiest questions to ace, if only you do some research before your interview. Background information including company history, locations, divisions, and a mission statement are available in an "About Us" section on most company websites. Review it ahead of time, then print it out and read it over just before your interview to refresh your memory. Also check the company's LinkedIn page and Facebook page, if they have one.
4. Fuzzy Resume Facts. Even if you have submitted a resume when you applied for the job, you may also be asked to fill out a job application. Make sure you know the information you will need to complete an application including dates of prior employment, graduation dates, and employer contact information. It's understandable that some of your older experiences may be hard to recall. Review the facts before your interview. It can be helpful to keep a copy of your resume for yourself to refer to during your interview, although certainly don't use it as a crutch. Of course, you should never "fudge" any facts on your resume. The more truthful you are on your resume, the better you will be able to discuss your past experience during your interview.
5. Not Paying Attention. Don't let yourself zone out during an interview. Make sure you are well-rested, alert and prepared for your interview. Getting distracted and missing a question looks bad on your part. If you zone out, your potential employer will wonder how you will be able to stay focused during a day on the job, if you can't even focus during one interview. If you feel your attention slipping away, make the effort to stay engaged. Maintain eye contact, lean forward slightly when talking to your interviewer, and make an active effort to listen effectively. Stay engaged in the give and take of the conversation. Ask clarifying questions when you need to. Give answers that are on point.
6. Ask about benefits. This is immaterial in a first interview, even in a second. The salary, perks etc. will come onto the table, and the employer will offer these. You should not ask for it. You don't want to leave the impression that you are just in it for the money or the prestige.
7. Bringing a Drink With You. Ditch the coffee or soda before you enter your interview. If you need to fuel up, do it before you get to the interview. Not only is it unprofessional to enter with a drink in hand, but during your interview, you should be focused on the task at hand: making a good impression, answering questions, maintaining eye contact with your potential employer, and paying attention throughout the entire interviewing process. Having a drink in front of you creates the opportunity for distraction - fiddling with the cup, or missing a question while taking a sip.
8. Using Your Phone During the Interview. Before you get to your interview, silence your phone. Texting during your interview is not only rude and disruptive, but it's a pretty clear message to your potential employer that getting the job is not your top priority. For the same reasons, don't answer calls (and certainly don't make calls!) during the interview. To resist the temptation to check your phone, stow your phone in your bag before the interview.
9. Talking Too Much. There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on... The interviewer really do
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