We all know that first impressions are important, but did you know that almost 60% of employers make a decision within the first 15 minutes of the interview? Take a look at the common mistakes that could cost you a job before and during that all-important meeting.
- Being unprofessional online
Before you have stepped foot in the interview room, it is likely that your potential employer has taken a good look at your social media accounts. Avoid posting anything that could offend your potential employers! Your friends might be impressed, but incriminating posts will raise a red flag with any employer.
- A poor resume
Although you have already submitted your resume in order to have obtained an interview, be sure to bring a copy of your cover letter and your resume just in case the interviewer asks for it. Your resume should be flawless without any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors.
- Arriving late
Sometimes punctuality is out of our control. This happens all the time and your interviewer knows this. It is how you deal with this situation that matters. The best thing to do is to notify your interviewer to apologize for the inconvenience, as soon as possible, and rearrange your interview if necessary.
Not arriving on time does not always refer to lateness. An employer can also be put off if you arrive too early. This indicates that you can’t manage your time efficiently. Show appreciation for your interviewer’s schedule and try to arrive about 10 minutes before your interview.
- Dressing inappropriately
Your attire will reflect how seriously you are taking the job interview, so showcase your professionalism with your choice of clothes. An interview room is not the right place for casual clothing such as jeans. Make sure that your clothes are not only professional but also clean, ironed and a good fit (coffee stains, holes and creased shirts are not acceptable) and that your shoes are appropriate.
- A negative attitude
Nerves can get the best of us sometimes but this should not be an excuse to behave arrogantly, negatively, or too laid back. Keeping your arms crossed or insulting previous employers could tarnish your first impression.
Be true to yourself in a professional manner. Keep eye contact and smile, as this will help you build a rapport with your interviewer. Our body language reveals a lot about us and you don’t want your potential employer to have a negative impression of you before you even say a word.
This is important both in and out of the interview. Interviewers often ask other people in the company that have met you for their opinion. You should be friendly and treat everyone with respect, whether it’s the CEO or a receptionist.
- Being unprepared
The first few questions of an interview will reveal how prepared you are. Research the company to understand where you would fit in. You should use the interview as an opportunity to showcase what you bring to the table.
There should be no excuse for short or repetitive answers. It’s ok to take your time to form a thorough answer and find a good example that demonstrates your skills. Don’t succumb to the pressure of answer immediately; it’s it more likely that with a deep breath, you’ll think of a stronger response.
- Narrowing experience
To score bonus points in the interview, don’t rely on your university experience too much. While this experience is valid, if your competition for the job includes other graduates, it’s more than likely you will all have the same experience.
The strongest answers will call upon real life circumstances – perhaps from hobbies, internships, volunteering, charity work or previous employment – that show competence outside of the classroom.
Preparation can make your interview run much more smoothly, so keep these tips in mind and don’t give up until you land your dream job.