10 Ways to Botch An Interview

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A job interview is an experience like no other and one that, for most people, happens very infrequently. Preparing for a job interview can be difficult, particularly for those who have not had a great deal of experience with interviews. Most interviewees prepare themselves by focusing on ways to impress potential employers. Unfortunately, they often neglect to pay attention to things that can turn a good interview upside down.

1. Arrive Unprepared

Job seekers should never arrive to an interview empty handed. The interviewee should carry an extra copy of his or her resume, references, and samples of previous work or a portfolio, if appropriate for the job. Interviewees should also familiarize themselves with the company so that they can appear more knowledgable about the working atmosphere and ask any pertinent questions.

2. Dressing Inappropriately

Business degree graduates are not the only people that need to be concerned about wearing professional garb to an interview. Inappropriate dress can stop an interview in its tracks before it has a chance to begin. Interviews for professional positions require professional dress. Jobs requiring manual labor may allow for a more relaxed appearance, but clothing still must be clean and free from tears. One must also observe the rules of grooming and personal hygiene.

3. Let Nerves Take Over

Few things can try one's nerves like a job interview, but putting those nerves on display can be off-putting to a potential employer. Try to control stuttering, fidgeting, and other nervous habits.

4. Appear Aloof

Not being nervous or needy is a positive quality for an interviewee, but some may take this too far. Appearing uninterested may lead potential employers to believe the interviewee does not take the position seriously.

5. Appear Arrogant

Occasionally, a job seeker will confuse charm and arrogance. While an interviewee must sell him- or herself, he or she must at all costs avoid speaking in a condescending manner.

6. Arrive Late

One of the biggest no nos for job interviews is not being able to arrive on time. Showing up late to an interview is nearly as detrimental as not showing up at all. When managers see an applicant arrive late, they assume that this is a pattern. Plan on arriving at least 15 minutes early to any job interview. If you must reschedule, do so with a very clear, serious, and believable reason.

7. Over Share or Ask Inappropriate Questions

Trying to personalize an interview is an excellent way to build rapport, but some interviewees may take this too far. Interviewees should remember that the interview is for an employee, not a new best friend. Similarly, some questions should simply not be asked. An interviewee who inquires about drug testing or criminal background checks raises a red flag, regardless of the intent. It is also inappropriate to ask about salary too soon into the interview process.

8. Answer a Phone Call

When entering a job interview, job seekers must turn off their cell phones. A ringing or vibrating phone creates an unwelcome distraction. Answering an incoming call or text shows a lack of interest and professionalism. It also suggests that an individual who cannot stifle phone calls during an interview will further not be able to do so while on the job.

9. Speak Ill of Former Positions

A common question asked of interviewees is why they left previous jobs. If there is any ill will directed toward the company, the ex-boss, or former co-workers, that negativity must not be shared. This kind of language suggests that the interviewee is difficult to get along with and would not be a good fit with other co-workers.

10. Be Overly Memorable

Being remembered after a job interview is a must for acquiring the job. However, some interviewees take their memorability much too far. Avoid shock tactics and gimmicks, particularly for professional positions. Bursting into song, shouting with enthusiasm, or any other over-the-top behavior is obnoxious to most managers. The person who does this will be remembered, but not hired.

About the Author: This article was written by Allie Gray Freeland, Editor-in-Chief of CollegeOnline.org. Connect with Allie on Twitter @educationonline or Facebook.com/CollegeOnline.org, or peruse through the associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree options in our network.


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