You’ve got a stellar resume, all the right experience and landed an interview. So, why no job offers?
Often, putting together a solid resume, applying for jobs and patiently awaiting a call for an interview can seem like the toughest part of a job search. If I can just get in front of the hiring manager, they’ll see how skilled I am, and I’ll get the job. You might think just because you have the right experience and skillset for the position, you should be a shoo-in for the role, right?
Not so fast.
If you find yourself time and time again making it to the interview process but never actually receiving a job offer, you may be self-sabotaging yourself, and your career – and not even realizing it.
The blunders are usually tiny (and avoidable) missteps that are leading to your downfall during the interview process—and the culprit behind the lack of offers coming your way.
It’s crucial for you to conduct yourself in the best manner before, during and immediately following a job interview so that you can make the right impression on the interviewers. It could mean the difference between receiving an offer for that SOX Auditor, Finance Manager or Controller role you want – or not.
Overall, it really comes down to being self-aware in the way you handle yourself. I thought I would share with you some tips on what not to do. See the 9 Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Interview below.
1. Arriving with food and drink.
Besides a copy of your resume and your portfolio, you shouldn’t bring anything else with you to an interview. Forget the coffee, tea and soda at home. If you must, it’s acceptable to bring a small bottle of water and that’s it. Most offices will offer you coffee or water when you arrive. It’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘yes’ to a bottle of water, but it’s best to politely decline any coffee. You run the risk of spilling it, looking like you’re getting a little too comfortable, or even worse, that you desperately need that cup of Joe. Pick up your latte at the coffee shop on your way home from the interview, if you must.
2. Wearing the wrong ensemble.
If you’re unclear on the dress code of your company, be sure to ask before you arrive for the interview. In today’s workplace, you can never be too sure about a company’s culture. Some businesses work in a casual environment while others stick to business or business casual. Whatever the culture indicates, dress one level above that, and you should be good to go. If you have any tattoos or piercings, cover them up for the interview. Then, if you end up receiving a job offer, you can politely work that into the conversation down the line.
3. Not being conscious of your time.
You never want to be late to an interview. Even if it’s a minute or two, it will not be perceived as respectable. Alternately, if you arrive too early, the interviewer can get anxious about you arriving far ahead of your scheduled appointment. It’s best to arrive 15 minutes before your interview. This will give you enough time to check in with the front desk and organize yourself. You may want to stop in the restroom to make sure your clothes, hair and make-up are still tidy after your commute. Women should be sure to fix any eye smudges or lipstick on their teeth, and both men and women should fix any hair that may have flown out of place from the wind or elements.
4. Forgetting your ID.
Many office buildings require you to sign-in with a government-issued ID in order to enter the building. If you forget yours, you might as well forget your interview. You don’t want to make the company you’re interviewing for have to jump through hoops just to allow you inside the doors. This can also lead to you being late (refer to number 3) or even having to reschedule altogether. If that happens, chances are someone else will get interviewed in the meantime who could potentially get the offer.
5. Only answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’
You’re not going to the dentist for your job interview. So, you don’t want to make the interviewer have to pull your teeth in order to get details about your work experience by only answering yes or no. Alternatively, you want to answer questions – even if they’re just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions – in a succinct and well-thought out manner. You don’t want to ramble on and on. Stick to one clear thought, answer the question fully and then quietly wait for the next question. Be sure to incorporate all your strengths, experience and skills, whenever possible.
No matter how small of a white lie you tell on your resume or in an interview, chances are it will be discovered at some point. You don’t want to start off with a company in any negative light, and it’s certainly no way to get a job offer. If there is anything that you’re uncomfortable with regarding your work history, plan ahead of time how you’re going to address it. If you have gaps in employment, be honest and explain. If you don’t have a particular skill, mention it and back it up with other strengths you do have. Interviewers have heard it all. You most likely will not be offering any earth-shattering news that they haven’t heard before. If you’re right for the role, they will work around any minor shortcomings.
7. Immediately asking about benefits.
An interview is not the place to ask about summer hours, 401k matching or how much vacation time you will accrue. An interview should be reserved for hashing out the job details and company culture, and seeing if that gels with your history and experience. If perks and benefits are an absolute need-to-know, then cleverly ask the interviewer questions that would provoke them to talk about those details. Coming right out and asking how much sick time you receive, may come across as off-color.
8. Being a downer.
No matter what industry you are in, be sure to sound passionate about it when you’re in the interview. While doing your research on the firm ahead of time, look for small things to relate to and express those in the interview. Whether you point out something unique about the company, its location or recent news, be sure to show that you’ve done your research and can connect to it in some capacity. Also, be sure not to speak poorly about any past employers or managers. This will not shed you in a positive light, no matter the circumstance. You may have the urge to complain when the interviewer asks why you left a previous position or why you’re looking to leave your current role, however, you will be better off leaving this information out.
9. Forgetting to send thanks.
This small gesture can be the make or break moment in receiving a job offer. It’s quick and easy, and there’s really no reason not to send one. If you’re opting to send a Thank-You email, be sure to send it within 24 hours of the interview. If you’re going the more traditional route with a hand-written note, make sure to get it in the mail by the next day. If you find that you’ve been on quite a few interviews but haven’t gotten an offer, think about whether or not you sent a Thank-You note. Then, be sure not to make that mistake again in the future!
What are some other mistakes to avoid during a job interview? Comment below and let us know!