List o’ Ten Ways To Bomb Your Job Interview

top ten ways to bomb your job interviewWay too many job seekers fall victim to easily avoided situations like the 10 job-interview killers listed below. Any of these sound familiar?

1. Being late

It seems so obvious, but heres a reminder to be on time for a job interviewor better yet, 10 minutes early. Dashing through the revolving door five minutes after the hour does not leave the impression most job seekers hope to leave. Better to sit in the reception area for 20 minutes soaking up the ambiance than to show up, sweaty and disheveled, at the very last minute.

2. Arriving unprepared

So, what does your company do? was a great interview question in the decades before Google and social media, but its an unacceptable one now. Employers expect you to walk into an interview up to speed on what they do, their competition, and other tidbits gathered via your pre-interview research. Showing up to an interview sans preparation may be the worlds best way to land on the Thank you for your interest, but no thanks list.

8. Assuming you know everything

Youve done your research, but bear in mind the interview is still a chance for you to find out exactly what the company and your prospective boss are dealing with. Successful job seekers ask as many questions as they can, rather than jumping whole hog into a litany of their accomplishments. Take whatever chances youre given to probe for an understanding of the employers needs. Much can change in an organization between the job-posting date and the interview date. Often, the really granular stuff you want to know about the job isnt in the job description, so dig in and get the scoop.

7. Focusing on irrelevant issues

A client who left the corporate world to run a small nonprofit organization was looking to hire a marketing manager. She was subjected to one candidates 30-minute description of the complex intranet site the job-seekers last employer had installed. Why would the candidate go on and on about something so utterly irrelevant to THIS job? Good question. Dont make the same mistake.

6. Being storyless

The hands-down best way to demonstrate your understanding of a subject matter, a tool, or a methodology is to tell a story about itone that involves you. Stories are specific. When the interviewer asks, What kind of experience do you have managing employees overseas? dont tell them how many people work for you in other countries and where theyre located. Tell a story, instead! Talk about changing plans on a dime or how you saved the day in a crisis. Stories have detail, a beginning-middle-end, and (most critically) a point!

5. Forgetting where you are

Interviews are exhausting, physically and mentally. But tough it out. Dont call someone by the wrong name, mention your talks with a competitor, or say anything else that will lead people to think you dont have the stamina for a demanding assginment. Dont slip and mention the wrong company or youll lose big points in the focus department. The same is true for not-ready-for-prime-time behaviors like lacing your hands behind your head, slumping to lean your head on your hand, or leaning on the interviewers desk or table. Straighten up there, soldier! Youre on stage, after all.

4. TMI

Sharing too much information is a classic, regrettable interview behavior that has scuttled many a job search. Dont talk about your social life more than a light-touch conversation starter, and dont bring your family or friend relationships into the conversation. Dont be too familiar with the interviewerfor instance, if there are photos of children displayed in the office, dont say Cute kids! How old are they? which many interviewers can see as intrusive. It also sends a message that youre hoping to use personal chit-chat as a distraction from the main event.

3. Name-dropping

Maybe you worked with some of the interviewers colleagues before. You can mention a name or two as you arrive, to get the conversation going. Dont make the interview, or even the first five minutes of it, about all the people you know in common. If the interview goes well, reference-checking activities will get under way before long; interviewers dont tend to look favorably on candidates who want to run through a Whos Who of Folks We Know in Common before focusing on whether you and this job are a good fit.

2. Trashing your former employer

This sturdy job-search-advice chestnut is as valid now as it ever was. An easy way to slip into the trashing-your-old-job trap is during an explanation of one of your accomplishments. If you say They call themselves a green company, but they werent even recycling paper until I got there, youve just bashed the hand that fed you. Steer clear of any sort of boss-bashing, no matter how much rapport you feel youve established with the interviewer in front of you.

1. Not following up

Your lovely note card will win you important Emily Post points for manners, but also send a lengthier e-mail message or business letter (typed) to bring your conversation with the interviewer back to mind. Start that message or letter by thanking the interviewer for a specific explanation you received, and offering a reminder of one topic the two of you discussed. Follow that up by sharing a new idea or thought youve had since the interviewtelling the interviewer that youre already putting yourself mentally in the job.

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