The wrong move can cost you the
job! You've worked hard to get to the interview
stage. You passed the cover letter and resume
screening process... maybe even a few telephone
Now it's time for the face to face interview with
the employer itself. Any number of items can go
wrong but you have to be in control and must have
confidence. Go into an interview with the feeling
that you are going to impress them so much that
they will have to make you an offer.
The interview is the most stressful part of the
job hunt for many people because now they can't
hide behind the cover letter and resume. The real
face to face human connection between possible
employer and job candidate takes place. But for
starters if you simply follow these 13 tips below,
you are on your way to interviews with results.
A big part of a successful interview is avoiding
simple mistakes. Mistakes are deadly to the job
seeker and easy to avoid if you are prepared.
These are the most common interview mistakes --
and their antidotes.
1. Arriving late. Get directions from
the interviewer - or a map. Wear a watch and leave
home early. If the worst happens and you can't
make it on time, call the interviewer and arrange
2. Dressing wrong. You make your greatest
impact on the interviewer in the first 17 seconds
- an impression you want to make powerfully positive.
Dress right in a conservative suit, subdued colors,
little jewelry (but real gold, or silver, or pearls),
low heels (polished) and everything clean and
neat. Hygiene includes combed hair, brushed teeth,
deodorant and low-key scent. Check everything
the night before, again before walking out the
door and once again in the restroom just before
3. Play zombie. OK, you're nervous. But
you can still smile, right? And make eye contact,
yes? Sit up, focus on the interviewer, and start
responding. Enthusiasm is what the interviewer
wants to see.
4. No smoking, no gum, no drinking. This
is all comfort stuff for you, and none of it helps
you here. Employers are more likely to hire non-smokers.
At a lunch or dinner interview, others may order
drinks. You best not.
5. Research failure. The interview is
not the time for research. Find out the company's
products and services, annual sales, structure
and other key information from the Internet, the
public library, professional magazines or from
former employees. Show that you are interested
in working for the prospective employer by demonstrating
knowledge about the company.
6. Can't articulate your own strengths and
weaknesses. Only you can recognize your most
valuable strengths and most hurtful weaknesses.
Be able to specify your major strengths. Your
weaknesses, if such must come up, should only
be turned around to positives.
7. Winging the interview. Practice! Get
a friend, a list of interview questions and a
tape recorder and conduct an interview rehearsal.
Include a presentation or demonstration if that
will be part of the real interview. Start with
introducing yourself and go all through an interview
to saying good-bye. Write out any answers you
have difficulty with, and practice until your
delivery is smooth (but not slick).
8. Talk, Talk, Talk. Rambling, interrupting
the interviewer and answering to a simple question
with a fifteen-minute reply - all of these can
be avoided if you've thought through and practiced
what you want to communicate. Good answers are
to the point and usually shorter.
9. Failure to connect yourself to the job
offered. The job description details the company's
needs - you connect your experiences, your talents
and your strengths to the description. It answers
the essential reasons for the interview - "How
my education/experience/talents/strengths fit
your needs and why I can do this job for you."
10. Not asking questions - and asking too
many. Use your research to develop a set of
questions that will tell you whether this is the
job and the company for you. This will help you
limit and focus your questions. But don't overpower
the interviewer with questions about details that
really won't count in the long run.
11. Bad-mouth anyone. Not just your present
employer, or former employer, or the competition.
You don't want to look like a complainer.
12. Asking about compensation and /or benefits
too soon. Wait for the interviewer to bring
up these issues - after the discussion of your
qualifications and the company's needs and wants.
13. Failure to ask for the job. When the
interviewer indicates the interview is over, convey
your interest in the job and ask what the next