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If you have made it as far as the job interview, you
must have a decent understanding of job-hunting and the key elements of job-searching.
Now is not the time to relax, thinking you have made it from the hundreds (or thousands)
of applicants to the chosen few. While a strong resume helped get you to this point, it will
now take strong interviewing skills (probably over the course of several interviews) to
obtain the job offer.
While QuintCareers.com has many interviewing resources to help you prepare (some of
which you'll find listed below), the purpose of this article is to help you realize some
potentially serious errors and interviewing flaws that can knock your candidacy
completely off track, leading you to bomb the interview and lose a potential job
Before getting to the top 10 ways to bomb an interview, here's a quick overview of the
three components of a job interview -- all of which are vital to your interviewing success:
Nonverbals. From the opening handshake to your posture, smile, and eye contact
during the interview, the manner in which you present yourself nonverbally plays
a critical role in how the interviewer judges your interest and enthusiasm for the
Personality/Attitude. You might be surprised at how many job-seekers are
perceived by interviewers as unfriendly, snobby, or a "know-it-all." Your goal is
to present a warm personality with a positive attitude -- while building rapport
with the interviewer(s).
Interview responses and questions asked. The heart of any job interview is the
quality of a job candidate's responses to questions asked by the interviewer(s).
Research and preparation is essential. Remember to ask at least a few questions
during the interview to demonstrate your interest in the position and employer.
The 10 Deadly Sins of Interviewing
1. Late to the interview. Only an accident or act of God should make you late to a job
interview. When possible, complete a full dry-run to the interview location a day or two
before the actual interview. Always allow extra travel time, and plan to ideally arrive
about 10-15 minutes early.
2. Inappropriate attire/grooming. Arriving to the interview in unsuitable or ill-fitting
clothing or with uncombed hair or body odor is completely unacceptable. Like it or not,
appearance plays a major role in establishing a strong first impression.
3. Limited eye contact. Job-seekers with limited interviewing experience may have
difficulty maintaining strong eye contact throughout the interview, but doing so is key. If
you feel weird looking into the interviewer's eyes the whole time, try focusing on the
bridge of his/her nose. In a panel interview, maintain eye contact with all the interviewers
as you respond to questions.
4. Little evidence of research and knowledge about the company. It is never
acceptable not to have thoroughly researched the employer prior to the interview, and the
silence you'll hear when you can't respond to a question about why you want to work
there is your chance of receiving a job offer dying. Plus, how would you know you want
to work for an organization if you haven't completed any research?
5. Weak content: Incomplete and/or short interview question responses. Probably the
most common problem facing job-seekers in job interviews is responding with extremely
short answers to interviewer questions. You can solve this problem by anticipating
questions and developing compelling answers tailored to the job and employer.
6. Failure to show appropriate level of enthusiasm. You're in trouble if you are not
smiling enough, appear bored or disinterested, showcase a low energy level, or act cold,
distant, or unfriendly. Focus on maintaining a high (but not over-the-top) energy level,
engaging the interviewer, and smiling when appropriate.
7. Appearing desperate for the job -- or any job. It's an unfortunate truism of
interviewing, but the job-seekers who appear the most needy for a job -- regardless of the
reality of the situation -- are the least likely to receive the job offer. Even if you are
desperate for a job, your goal must be to appear calm and confident to the interviewer(s).
8. Seeming unsure about job you want. This deadly sin is most typical of younger and
entry-level job-seekers who are often unsure of the type of job they seek. Again,
conducting thorough research on careers and jobs can help clarify the jobs that best suit
your skills, experience, and interests.
9. Badmouthing former bosses, co-workers, or employers. Even if your former boss or
organization is widely known for its incompetencies or other problems, a job interview is
no time to express your anger or disgust. Job-seekers who complain are immediately
labeled just that -- complainers -- who should not be hired.
10. Failing to ask questions. Most job interviews conclude with the interviewer asking
the job-seeker is he or she has any questions. Failure to ask at least one non-obvious
question here signals a level of disinterest (or laziness). In fact, if you have completed
your research thoroughly, you should have more questions than you have time to ask.
Some other behaviors that did not quite make the top 10, but you should avoid if you
want a better chance of acing the interview:
Bad habits and odd mannerisms (tapping fingers, cracking knuckles, fidgeting,
touching face or hair, etc.)
Taking overly long pauses to respond to questions
Excessive use of "filler" words in your responses (ah, um, ah, like, you know)
Poor/too casual posture
Limp or moist handshake. (And no bone-crushers either)
Failing to turn cell phone to silent, or worse, answering your cell phone
Arguing with the interviewer
Not attempting to build rapport with interviewer
Treating receptionist, office assistant, or any other employee poorly
Bringing a parent with you to the interview
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