Why Most People Fail at Job Interviews
Are you stuck in a cycle of countless interviews but no job offers or callbacks? There are so many of us who truly have the drive to succeed but have not. Chances are this is due to mistakes we have made before the interview has even concluded.
The basics are well known; as an interviewee you should give detailed examples of your work history, maintain eye contact and be very punctual. Still, there are other potential mistakes that can be easily made. If you are determined to improve your odds, it is time for you to seriously evaluate what is going wrong for you during the interview process.
The Interview Begins before You Even Arrive
• If you think about it honestly, the interview begins with the phone call or email that you receive to schedule the appointment. Be aware of yourself from the very beginning. On the phone, use your best voice; speak clearly and concisely in a friendly voice. Whether your contact is online or in person, be polite and accommodating. Do not be difficult to schedule with, show them right up front that this interview is important enough to prioritize on your calendar. You will be remembered for your social skills.
• Prepare, prepare, prepare. Be sure to know details and facts about the position, the company and even your interviewer if possible. Practice common questions out loud or even with an observer. You will feel much more confident if you have put in the time to be ready for whatever comes your way.
• Even as you have been preparing, odds are that they have been too. As you have been looking into your perspective employers business, they have been looking into yours through social media outlets. Always remember that once something is posted and online, it is difficult if not impossible to take back. Social Media has become a huge part of the hiring process whether you think it is fair or not. Don’t provide them with a negative opinion of you before you have even met. Keep a clean, positive online presence.
You Are Being Watched
• From the moment your car door opens, behave as though the interview has already begun. And it goes without saying, be on time, no exceptions. Also, don’t arrive in the middle of a chat on your cell phone. Don’t cut someone off on your way to the door, hold it open instead. Be mindful of your manners. Smile and be friendly. Try to appear at ease even if you are not.
• Greet receptionists or office staff as if they are part of the hiring committee, honestly, they may well be. These small displays of kindness are easy to overlook when trying to appear important, but they show as much as your resume who you really are and what it may be like to work with you on a daily basis. Give this crucial first impression the attention it deserves.
You Never Get a Second Chance…
• We all know that impressions are formed faster than is fair, especially in today’s job market with social media ever present in the background. Give yourself every opportunity to make a positive impression. Smile, give a firm but not to firm hand shake. Remember to maintain eye contact without over doing it. Basic human interaction skills matter. You should also wait to be offered a seat. Don’t plop down in the first chair you see, you are in their territory and need to wait until you are asked to sit and shown where to do so.
• You know you need to dress the part, but don’t forget to dress the part you are applying for, not the one that you are coming from. Sometimes there is a vast difference. Thinking that you will dress up more once you get the job could prove to be a fatal error; the evaluation time is now, not later. Even if the workplace is new-age or trendy, it is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. And don’t forget the iron! A nice dress shirt doesn’t count if it is wrinkled and untidy. Show you care enough to be your best.
The Most Important Part of the Interview
• As the interview begins, don’t be unnecessarily nervous. This person is ultimately trying to help you, not hurt you, so give them that opportunity. Use common sense as you answer questions, don’t try too hard and come across tricky or desperate. Don’t start spewing information or details about your life that they didn’t ask for. Just give them an honest sense of who you are and what drives or motivates you.
• Have a couple of questions ready to ask them. The majority of interviews end with, “do you have any questions for us?” You should. Being prepared with some relevant questions will show the recruiter that you are genuinely interested. Keep it simple and inquire about additional aspects of the job role as well as the future or progression that should be expected.
• Don’t ask about salary at an initial interview. It may seem like a good idea, but chances are you have a good idea of the ballpark you are in with the position. Asking about money to soon can make it seem like you are only interested in monetary gains and not the company or what they do. Hopefully there will be a time and place for that later on.
• Don’t exaggerate your skills in a way that could lead to trouble. There is nothing worse than having something expected of you that you have no knowledge or understanding of how to complete. Be honest.
• Attempt to build some kind of rapport or find common ground with the interviewer; this will make you more memorable. It never hurts to show interest in them and their position with the company either. Most of us consider it a compliment when others are interested in us; they are bound to feel the same way.
Closing the Interview
• Ending the interview, of course, is in control of the interviewer, not you. Watch for cues, don’t overstay your welcome. Be sure to thank them for their time and leave the door open with a statement such as, “I hope to hear from you soon.” Starting and ending an interview on the right foot can make all the difference on the path to success.
• Come prepared with knowledge about the company and position. Control your social media presence.
• Be alert and polite from the moment you enter the property until you leave.
• Look the part. Prepare a smooth introduction and connect with them throughout the interview. Don’t exaggerate your skills.
• When the interview concludes, always thank them for their time.
Proper use of the advice given above is sure to provide you an advantage as you work toward making your dream job a reality.