How To Interview: 7 Things You Should Never Do
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the statement – “If I can get the interview, then I’ll get the job”. Many people tend to be very confident about their interview skills. When they don’t get the position, they assume they didn’t have the skill level the employer was looking for, but the real reason may be that they broke some major interview rules.
When it comes to interviewing, most people are concerned about what they’re going to say while answering the employer’s questions. This is definitely a big part of the interview process, but there are many small details that you must also be aware of, in order to interview successfully.
Apart from your answers, the most significant details are in your body language, confidence and preparation.
1: Don’t Look Down
When it comes to your body language, there are many small details that will tell the hiring manager if you are a good candidate. A common piece of advice is to always maintain eye contact with the interviewer. What candidates don’t realize is that in between their fierce eye-contact, they are looking down. Whether you’re looking at the floor, or your hands – this is never a good sign.
If you are referring to your resume and need to glance down to read a point, that is perfectly fine – this is just a glance. The problem occurs when you bow your head looking to the floor for no apparent reason. Always ensure you hold your head high to show your confidence.
2: Don’t Lean Back
You want to show the hiring manager how enthusiastic you are about the role, and leaning back in your chair does not send off that message. When you lean back you are telling the hiring manager that you are carefree, when you want to tell them that you’re eager.
A combination of leaning forward, maintaining eye contact, and folding your hands on the table will show that you are excited about the opportunity and holding onto every last word the hiring manager is saying. Pair this body language with some light nodding to acknowledge that you are listening to the hiring manager, and you’ll be sending the right message.
3: Avoid Umm’s
You’re nervous, and that’s okay. It is completely normal to be nervous, but you don’t want your nerves to overshadow your skills and experience. When answering a question in the interview, don’t break up your thoughts with “umm’s” or “uh’s” or “like’s”. This will tell the hiring manager that you were not prepared for the question, that you’re not quite sure how to answer it, and therefore not confident in your answer.
All in all – it’s a bad impression. When answering questions, ensure your answer is in one fluid sentence. If you need a second to find a word or grasp your thoughts, don’t be afraid to take a short pause before answering. This will only show the hiring manager that you are ensuring that you provide the best answer possible, based on your former experiences.
4: Lack of Targeted Questions
At the end of the interview, the hiring manager will always ask you if you have any questions. The questions you ask are just as important as the answers you’ve already provided. Don’t resort to using common questions that could be used for any interview scenario – ensure your questions are targeted.
This is where research will benefit you. If you’ve researched the company’s recent coverage in the media, you can discuss the situation or current challenges they are facing. When discovering what challenges they are facing, you can offer your skillset to serve as a solution to these challenges. This will show the hiring manager that you are a team player and that you will take initiative to make a positive impact within the company.
5: Lack of Documents
If you’ve entered an interview without a printed version of your resume, cover letter, references, and samples of work – you may have already lost the job. Walking into an interview without any prepared documents shows that you are not giving the position a high level of importance.
You want to show the hiring manager that you’ve taken the time to prepare documents to show your skills and what you have to contribute to the team. The interview is the best time to convince the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job, and bringing these documents will offer proof of that.
6: Glancing at the Time
Whether you are glancing at your own watch or at the clock on the wall, looking at the time will always send the hiring manager the wrong message. That message is saying that you have other places to be, that you are currently bored, and that you would like to get out of there.
Always avoid looking at the time. When you’ve scheduled an interview, clear your schedule for the next few hours. You don’t want to be the candidate that has to rush out of a lengthy interview because they had somewhere else to be. You will definitely sell yourself out of the job with that attitude.
7: Arrive Late or On-Time
One of the most traditional rules when it comes to interviewing is to arrive 15 minutes early. This rule will never change. If you arrive late or right on time, you have already told the hiring manager that you are not punctual, that you do not prepare for delays ahead of time, and that you are not eager for the role.
The world is an unpredictable place, if you really were stuck behind a massive car accident, call the hiring manager and let them know as soon as possible. If you call them 45 minutes before the interview and let them know that you’ve encountered traffic delays or car problems, your story is far more viable. The hiring manager will have proof that you were on the road early with ample time to get to the interview, but that you were caught in an unfortunate circumstance.
When it comes to your body language, you may not even realize that you’re guilty of the above-mentioned points. A tip for you – have a friend conduct a mock interview with you. Then take in their brutally honest evaluation of how often you look down, or say “umm”. It’s better to have a friend tell you now, so you can ace your next interview.
Don’t have any friends? We’ve got interview coaches that can fill that role for you!