Not arriving on time
If you're late to an interview, how can a potential employer expect you'll demonstrate timeliness on the job? Tardiness also suggests you don't respect others' time. Just as you don't want to be late, arriving too early is also unwise. Show up a few minutes before your interview - no more, no less.
In an interview, it's vital to make a great impression. If the first thing an employer notices about a candidate is his or her unkempt appearance, chances are a job offer will not be forthcoming. Life is busy, but make time for a shower and proper grooming prior to interviews.
Failing to dress the part
How you dress for interviews will depend in large part on the position you're applying for. For example, in an interview for an executive position, you clearly shouldn't go in wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Instead you'll need proper business attire. Check out yesterday's post on interview dress for guidelines.
Whether it's in a shopping line or a job interview, rudeness is unattractive. No matter how well qualified someone might be for a position, no one is going to hire a jerk. Most of today's work environments rely on a great deal of employee collaboration. Show that you'll be a good team member by being gracious toward all staff members you meet.
Another important aspect of making a good impression is showing confidence. It's natural to be nervous during interviews - a lot is riding on how you perform - but revealing these feelings can make you appear unqualified for a position. You don't have to be arrogant, but demonstrate confidence in your ability to do a good job.
Preparedness is key for performance in the job interview. Learn as much as you can about a potential employer's business. During your interview, reveal through conversation and targeted questions that you are knowledgeable about the company's operations. Talk about how you will be successful in supporting them.
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Never badmouth people or companies you've worked with previously, even if you're not fond of them. Instead, speak respectfully of everyone from your professional past. If things ended poorly, stay upbeat about the opportunities opening up now that you've moved on. Dissing past employers is not going to enamor you with potential new ones.
Talking too much or too little
The interview is a great opportunity for you to showcase your personal strengths and professional skills. It's just as important, though, to listen as potential employers outline expectations and ask questions when you need clarification. Just as talking too much is a bad idea, so is being too passive. A good interview should be a meaningful dialog.
Revealing bad habits
Potential employers who smell smoke on job candidates are less likely to hire them. For this reason, it's important to never smoke cigarettes in advance of an interview. Also avoid smokeless tobacco and chewing gum. Some people will bite a pen, tap their fingers or reveal other tics in interviews. Discipline yourself to refrain from these behaviors.
Lying or exaggerating
It may be tempting to inflate your credentials or capabilities in an interview, but lying will invariably come back to haunt you. Not only can this kind of talk come across as boastful, a potential employer may pursue questioning that exposes your fraudulence. If you don't know how to do something, admit it and say that you're willing to learn.