Got the interview jitters? Want to make a good impression? Don’t know what to say exactly and don’t want to say the wrong thing? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are among many job seekers who feel the same way. It is very common to have angst about an upcoming interview.
First of all, congratulate yourself for getting this far in the hiring process! Second, take a deep breath, you will get through this phase too, but you need to plan ahead and practice.
Let’s examine a few of the negatives to avoid:
1. Don’t badmouth your former employer.
2. Don’t talk too much.
3. Don’t show up to the interview unprepared. You should have researched the company and its products and be familiar with them.
4. Know the details of the position you are interviewing for. Be familiar with the requirements of the job opportunity and skills needed.
5. Don’t ask the hiring manager for a ride home.
We have had it drilled into our heads that standing out from your competitors is a way to get the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. While that is true, you have to keep in mind what is most important here – showing the employer that you are a good fit for their company. Ultimately, the employer wants to find candidates that “fit in” with their company culture.
With social media playing such a big part of job search today, a job seeker needs to be cautious about what they are sharing online. It goes beyond the posts that say “got drunk at the kegger last night” and really relates to what can be assumed by some as innocent shares.
· “I’ve had candidates share with me their anger management problems, views on gender, age, and other things that can be damaging in an interview,” says Shilonda Downing, owner of Virtual Work Team. “One candidate recently mentioned that he was going through anger management for hitting a co-worker in corporate America, and that is why he would like to work from home going forward.” A job seeker who mentions these things is considered someone who will not be able to professionally handle situations and perhaps, could react with some level of violence.
· Showing up for an interview over-medicated can result in a disaster for both the job seeker and the interviewer. If speech mannerisms are affected (like slow or slurred speech) the interviewer could be concerned that there may be a real medial emergency in progress. This is an interview killer and paints a picture for the interviewer that this could be behavior displayed in the workplace as well.
· Odd and unprofessional behavior (for example: excessive itching, touching face, etc.) can throw a job seeker out of the hiring process. The interviewer looks at this as the type of behavior that would also be displayed on the job and is considered unacceptable.
· Thought process and judgment that is poorly demonstrated by immature behaviors or explanations of situations can send a red flag to the interviewer. Carefully choose your words and practice answers to general interview questions before your meeting. If you think of answering interview questions with a challenge, action and result – you will be better prepared to respond with quality information that will reflect who you are and what you can do for the company. Career coaches can be a great resource for helping job seekers get over interview anxiety.
· Don’t share more than you are asked during an interview. Bringing up a loss of a friend or family member in an interview can be sensitive subject matter and make the interviewer uncomfortable. If you need to mention the passing of someone in your life or work as it relates to an interview question or inquiry, then talk about it without going into details that might turn the conversation to an awkward place.