Job Interview Mistakes and How to Correct Them

In the recruitment world, we see many people coming in who are looking for employment. Job seekers are many and as we have blogged before about there is a right way to go about your job search. Yet so many people are still doing things that hurt their chances of finding employment. You don’t want to rub prospective employers the wrong way.  After all, competition for jobs can be extremely competitive.  Why reduce your chances of being selected as a successful candidate?  To help job seekers put forth the best impression possible, here are some of our least favorite job interview mistakes (and how to correct them).

10 Common Job Interview Faux Pas:

When contacted for an interview, the applicant says they have no idea who we are and asks what job this is.   Ok maybe in some extreme cases the applicant may have forgotten applying for the position.  However you should always pay attention to the job postings that you apply for.  Make sure that you keep a file of all the job advertisements you apply for as well as the cover letter you write for it (remember each job should get its own cover letter written specifically to the job requirements of that position and how you meet those requirements.) Do some research on the company you are applying to and research what the position is so that you are unaware of the company or the position when you get a call for an interview.

The candidate shows up for the interview late. Being late for an interview?  Really?  Things do happen but by all means gibe yourself enough time to arrive a little early for your interview.  First impressions are huge. If you can’t show up on time for the interview, how can the employer count on you day to day in the job? No excuse (traffic back up, road construction, got lost, etc) is going to change the poor first impression you made. Leave extra early to allow for any delays be ready to interview when you walk in the door. Map out your route on your phone so that you know exactly where to go, what floor to go to and which person to ask for.

The candidate shows up too early. On the flipside, avoid showing up for the interview too early.  Why is this a problem? Quite often interviews are scheduled back to back and it is awkward for the Receptionist to have 2 or 3 people waiting for interviews. As well if you are the first interview of the day the office may not be ready for you yet. It is best that you do arrive to the area early but only come into the building 5-10 minutes early prior to your interview.

The applicant brings too many items with them to the interview. Nothing is more distracting, unprofessional and disorganized than when you arrive juggling your cell phone, a Starbucks or Tim Hortons coffee cup, a huge purse/backpack/briefcase, an umbrella and a coat! Be prepared and arrive with only the essentials that you need to participate in the interview.  Ideally you will want to arrive with only your car keys, your phone (more on that in a second) and a small folder (that contains your resume, references, cover letter, the job advertisement, company information, and some questions that you may have about the company or position).  Leave all unnecessary baggage hidden in your car and arrive composed and ready to do your interview.

The applicant is texting or on the phone.  We get it, we are a plugged in world, but by all means ignore your phone for 30-60 minutes when you are in your interview.  Turn it off, ensure that your ringer is off and maybe better yet leave your phone in your purse, backpack or briefcase.  There is nothing more annoying that your phone ringing or buzzing during a meeting… interviews are no exception.  Shut off your cell phone before you get to the interview.

Candidate is chewing gum, candy or carrying a coffee. This is very unprofessional and far too casual behaviour. Spit out your gum into a garbage can before you get to the building and get a coffee after the interview. If you are offered a beverage during the interview by all means accept it, but don’t bring your own.

Candidate wears strong perfume/cologne/scents or smokes right before the interview. You want to be conscious of how many people have allergies to scents or asthma sensitivities. You want to make a great first impression and sending the receptionist or interviewer in to an allergic reaction is not going to help.  For you smokers out there, while you may not be able to smell the nicotine emanating from your person, others can.  Try to avoid lighting up before an interview.

Research the parking situation / Make sure you plug the parking meter sufficiently.  Prior to arriving be sure to know where you can park and if you have to pay for parking.  Have an understanding of how long your interview is expected to take and put more money in the meter than you need.  You don’t want to have to interrupt the interview to go plug the parking meter, so be prepared ahead of time.

Applicant dresses inappropriately.  Depending on the type of job being applied for, your attire may vary.  Regardless you should dress professionally without overdressing for your interview.  For any professional position erring on the side of modest will always help make the right impression. Mini-skirts, impractical high heels, or casual, immodest or flashy clothing will set the wrong impression.

If you are serious about finding a good job for yourself, you will take each chance you have to make an excellent impression. Applicants lose the interest of employers if they are unprofessional or casual.

Candidate talks too much.  Interviews should involve two way dialogue.   While the employer is looking to learn more about you, avoid dominating the conversation and not letting the interviewer get a word in.  Listen carefully and provide a clear concise response to questions.  Use your judgement as to when you need to communicate additional details.  Being confident is one thing but being a chatty pants can be annoying and may impact the first impression that you are presenting.

Securing a job interview should be considered as success, but it is often just the first step in the process.  In order to make a great impression you will want to avoid some of the job interview faux pas listed above.  Be prepared, project confidence and be professional.  A mediocre interview can make or break your chances of a second interview or of receiving an offer.

Are you a job seeker looking for a job?  Or perhaps as an employer or HR Manager, you need assistance with your recruiting efforts or need help developing an HR Strategy?  Contact Aspire Recruitment Solutions at 778-484-0161. Aspire Recruitment Solutions is the leading human resource solution and employment agency provider to clients in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Northern BC and Alberta. We connect great employers with the best candidates every day.