Top Interview Mistakes – Part 4

July 15, 2008 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

This is the fourth installation of commentary on the worst mistakes interviewees make. Please see parts one, two and three for more on how to become a better job candidate in the interview room.

Forty-eight percent of hiring managers cited that the worst thing a person can do in an interview is be disinterested. This bothers me. When I first read this, I though, “Now why would you interview when you’re not interested in the job?” But then I realized that often times people may come across as disinterested because they’re not adequately prepared for the interview and do not understand how to interact during the conversation.

The first step is preparing for the interview.

  1. Research the company you are going to visit. Go to their web site. Read the “About” page. Find out who’s in charge. What their business is. Look for news stories about the company. Do a Google search. Find out who links to their site, what blogs are saying.
  2. Talk to friends and family. Find out what they know about the company. Do they know someone that works there or used to be an employee? Could you talk to them and find out more about the company that way?
  3. Dress appropriately. If you can find out from your web search or talking to people who know about the company, pick out your outfit accordingly. If it’s corporate – you need a suit. A lot of companies are a lot more casual, so showing up in a three-piece pinstriped suit may be overdoing it. Stop by the company parking lot at lunch time. See what people are wearing. Then make sure you look at least as nice as them, if not nicer! When all else fails, call the person you’re interviewing with, several days before your meeting if possible, and ask them about the company dress code.
  4. Prep for common questions.

The second step is to understand how to interact in an interview.

What you say is just as important as how you say it… That means:

  • Paying attention to your posture (sit up straight with your back against the chair back)
  • Being aware of others (turning toward people when they speak, responding to their body language)
  • Keeping your hands in your lap and use natural hand gestures when speaking (don’t fidget!)
  • Making eye contact when you speak to someone, as well as when they are speaking to you

It’s just as much your chance to interview the company as it is the company’s chance to interview you. So that means you need to actively ask questions about the company, the job and its responsibilities. By asking informed questions that show you know your stuff, you will demonstrate to an interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity.

After the interview, it’s important to follow-up with a thoughtful thank you letter to remind the interviewers how appreciative you are of their time and consideration.

Entry filed under: Interview, Interview Follow-up. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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