It’s 2018, but not that much has changed when it comes to terrible interview habits. In such a competitive job market, it’s not just what you know but also how you communicate it that matters – and the little things can make a huge difference. From inappropriate attire to bragging about how successful you are, here are our tips on what to avoid in your next job interview.
1. Sorry, no late passes!
Am I the only one who gets anxiety when running late for something important? Whether you’re the type of person to rock up somewhere two hours after the agreed time, or you’re always thirty minutes early – be somewhere closer to the latter for an interview! Whilst you don’t want to be over eager and show up before your interviewer has had time for their morning coffee, allowing yourself a solid ten minutes to find the correct place will help you get into the right headspace. If you do happen to be early, use the extra time to review your notes, get a coffee or take a bathroom break, rather than sit in the waiting room on your phone. Also remember to plan ahead and allow time for traffic or public transport delays!
2. Fashion faux pas
Please: no crop tops, short hemlines or flip-flops! This might seem obvious, but looking neat and professional goes a long way when it comes to impressing your future employer. Presentation is important! Look the part but also make sure you’re wearing something you’re comfortable in – a job interview in unfamiliar surroundings may not be the best time to break in those new shoes.
3. When was the last time you used soap?
Again, this might seem like a beginner’s guide to just being a human, but you’d be surprised how many people turn up to interviews looking like they’re in desperate need of a good scrub. You don’t need to be heading to a day spa, but simply looking, smelling clean and neat goes a long way.
4. The truth doesn’t stretch itself
Your future employer is likely to be well-networked and an expert in their field, so lying won’t get you anywhere (being caught out in a lie is a sure-fire way of ensuring you won’t be hired). Highlight your successes and achievements but leave out the exaggeration and embellishment! Most businesses undertake a multi-interview process that includes reference checks, so save yourself the embarrassment by sticking to the truth. Honesty really is the best policy.
5. It’s a humble brag
Leave your ego at the door! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and being aware of your own will get you a lot further than “humble” bragging about your perfectionism (working too much and caring too much are not flaws FYI). Your weaknesses might include the fact you attempt to please others too much at times, you can be overly critical of yourself or you’re unfamiliar with a certain type of software. Whatever it is, prepare an answer to this common question and be honest! Your interviewer will appreciate your self-awareness and candour.
6. Money on my mind
Obsessing over the numbers, especially early on in your interview, can make it seem like you’re there for the wrong reasons. Listen and wait for your interviewer to bring up compensation and make sure you are respectful and polite when approaching the topic. Make sure you know your worth and can speak to an ideal salary range you’d be seeking, but don’t lead the conversation down the path of dollars and cents too early in the game. If you’re being put forward through a recruiter, they will handle any salary negotiations on your behalf.
7. Do your homework
There’s nothing worse than looking like you have zero clue about the company you’re interviewing for, or the role you’re aiming to land. Luckily in our digital era, information is readily available and educating ourselves is as simple as a Google search. Doing some basic research shows you’re serious about the job, and that you care. Similarly, asking a few thoughtful questions at the end of the interview can also help you stand out from other candidates who simply respond with “no, I think you’ve answered everything!”.
8. My eyes are up here
Body language speaks volumes. Not making eye contact, having bad posture, and not smiling are a few key mistakes to avoid. You want to give off a friendly, confident and approachable vibe – so try not to act like a robot (those are coming soon enough!).
9. Please and thank you
No one wants to hire or work with someone rude and abrasive. Ignoring or being impolite to the receptionist or others in the waiting room are major red flags. Make sure you are respectful and courteous to everyone in the building. Your actions and words are a reflection of your character, and rude is not an impression you want to leave your potential future employer with!
At the end of the day, interviews are a part of life, and getting used to presenting yourself in a professional manner are essential life skills. We spend so much of our lives at a desk, it’s best we make sure it’s the right one.
Image by Courtney King.