I’ve been on both sides of the interviewing process. I’ve been interviewed and have interviewed hundreds if not thousands of applicants as a recruiter. Some of the things people do are downright entertaining.
I’ve had applicants bring their kids to interviews, answer their cell phone and even bring their lunches. It goes without saying that, although entertaining, this is unacceptable. There’s more to the list like dressing inappropriately, lying, etc. These certainly make you look dumb, but the following are things that I witness applicants do over and over again.
1) Not doing your homework
I often see this with entry to mid-level applicants, but I’ve seen senior-level applicants come to a job interview not knowing anything about the company or barely anything about the position itself.
2) Being desperate
It’s kind of like dating, desperation is a major turn-off. There is absolutely nothing appealing about an applicant saying “I really, really need this job”. Employers don’t chose employees based on who really needs this job, they chose the candidate with the best skill set for the job. Don’t waste your time begging for the job. Put your energy into convincing them that you are the right person for the job.
3) Not asking questions
I end every interview with “do you have any questions”. Applicants who simply shrug and say no, even when they cleverly include “you’ve pretty much answered all the question I had” are lazy. Every applicant must come equipped with 2 – 3 questions. They can either be specific to the job or the company as a whole. Here’s a list of a few good questions.
4) Speaking negatively of previous co-workers or bosses
This one’s usually a sure way to bomb an interview. I’ve had applicants use expletives when speaking of their previous managers. We all know that there are people out there who are hard to work with, but badmouthing them at an interview shows poor judgement and implies that you’re not a team player.
Being unprepared for an interview is one of the worst things you could do during your job hunt. It’s easy to prepare for an interview, so take the time to plan for it.