No matter what stage you are at in your career, going on a job interview can be unnerving. Anxiety and stress may rear their ugly heads, and the fear of the unknown can be equally nerve-wracking. Even if you are normally calm, cool, and collected, the prospect of meeting with a potential employer for the first time in a setting where you must be at your best can cause palms to sweat and insecurity to come out of the woodwork.
But you can do this! Nail your interview by being well-prepared, polished, and poised. If you are the right person for the job and you make a stellar impression, chances are you'll get the job. That said, there are some things that can ruin your chances of being hired. The actions and behaviors below are major no-nos. Stay on top of your interview manners and you will be one step closer from nailing the gig.
Not Learning as Much as Possible About the Company
You wouldn't show up for an exam without studying, so do not arrive at your interview without knowing as much as you can about the company and the person interviewing you. Show you have a vested interest in the business by doing your homework.
As suggested by Michael Page Career Advice, "Check the 'About Us' link on the company website and read their mission statement. Find out who the competition and major players in the market are." These days, a search is just a click away, so there is no excuse not to know at least the basics about the company and the job you are about to be interviewing for.
Knowledge is power! Prove you are proactive and prepped.
What is on the inside is what counts, but your outward appearance reflects your sensibilities and understanding of the type of business you are trying to be part of. You do not need to dress in a way that isn't your personal style, but there is a level of professionalism and appropriateness that is expected and appreciated.
Career Builder notes, "Wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose, too dressy or too casual, or wearing brands and logos in professional settings is a bad sign, according to 49 percent of hiring managers."
And according to The Balance, "Err on the side of overdressing to demonstrate that you are serious about the opportunity."
Dress to impress and for interview success!
Showing Up Late
Unless there was an unfortunate accident or horrible unexpected storm, there are not many other acceptable reasons to show up late to an interview. As per Michael Page Career Advice, "Unless you have a very good excuse and ring ahead to rearrange, turning up late for an appointment will not endear you to any employer." Their time is valuable, so wasting it will surely leave a sour taste in their mouth… before that first handshake.
As The Balance recommends, "Prepare your travel carefully and leave a cushion for unexpected delays. Arriving late can be a deal breaker and create the impression that you might be an irresponsible employee."
Save those "fashionably late" moments for your personal life. Don't forget, the early bird catches the worm. If you turn up too late, you may be shown the door before you're even invited inside.
Some other interview blunders?
- Leaving your cell phone on… or worse, texting during the interview
- Poor posture
- Bashing your previous boss or company
- Getting too personal
- Not making eye contact
Make the most of the interview experience by remembering to be yourself, remain confident, and speak clearly. Be honest, open, and show you are trustworthy, eager, and smart. Good luck!
Interviews are stressful enough for those seeking a new job, but when the questions being asked cross the line, the process is all the more nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. Before heading in for an upcoming interview, know which questions are par for the course and appropriate and those which should never be asked.
A number of companies are forgoing the traditional one-on-one interviewing process and opting for group interview scenarios instead. According to Reed, "Not only are (group interviews) a good way to compare and contrast candidates, they also demonstrate how each individual works as part of a team, and how they perform under pressure." Additionally, as per U.S. News & World Report, "For the hiring company, a group interview can be a big time saver and the company may be hiring more than one person for the role."
This process may be a benefit for the hiring manager, but for those being interviewed, the experience can be intimidating. If you are about to head off to a group interview for the first time or want to handle the situation better the next time you're in such a position, here are some tips to make it through successfully and prove that you're the best person for the job. The group dynamic can be your ticket to landing a solo interview as a follow-up and get hired for the role you've been coveting!
While you may be inclined to size up the competition or compare yourself based on first impressions, that won't help you be your best self. You have no idea what the others bring to the table, so focus on your strengths and what your experience and talent can do for the company.
As per U.S. News & World Report, "Always be respectful, courteous and professional. Don't talk down to other candidates or try to make their answers wrong." A sure sign of confidence is being secure in yourself despite what the others may gave to offer. The Muse adds, "Remember, you don't have to talk constantly to be noticed—but to be memorable, make sure what you're saying is unique and contributing to the conversation."
Reed suggests to prepare an introduction before you get there as a smooth icebreaker and "body language can make all the difference. Do it right, and you'll appear attentive and alert, showing your interviewers that you're genuinely interested in what they have to say. Do it wrong, however, and you'll only look listless and lethargic."
Don't forget to make eye contact with not only the interviewer, but all people in the room. Smile and be friendly. Being yourself is confidence from within.
Engage and Address the Others
In this group setting, it's important to be aware of your surroundings. This type of interview is more like a conversation, so you'll need to be engaged with the group and give them the respect you'd expect in return.
As per The Muse, "You have to listen to the interviewers and interviewees and stay engaged in where the conversation is headed. Really pay attention and use body language to show you're engaged with the group, even when you're not talking."
Reed notes, "One of the most important facets of leadership is the ability to ensure everyone's opinions are heard, not just voicing your own."
The interviewer is holding a group interview for a reason. They want to see how you can handle the pressure. They need to know how you'll fare in company meetings and conferences. Think of the other candidates as assets. You can bounce ideas off one another or come up with answers you may have never thought of thanks to something another person discussed. You never know, you may just wind up working alongside one or more of these candidates in the future!
Have you been interviewed in a group setting? What did you think the pros and cons were?
Interviews are probably the most stressful part of the job application process. You dress professionally, sit in front of one (or sometimes a group of) people you don't know and are asked questions about your career and work habits. It can be hard to think through a question and answer it smoothly. Thankfully, there is an interview prep technique that can help you appear professional and collected in any field. It's the STAR method.
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