The job hunt is on. You’ve sent out numerous applications, waited patiently and then it happens — you’ve landed that coveted interview.
Congratulations! You’re probably so happy that you could jump for joy. But don’t let that excitement cloud your brain too much because you haven’t gotten the job quite yet.
Between now and the day of the interview, you must do your homework and prepare. Failure to do so can cause you to make vital mistakes that will cost you the job.
So what are these 8 mistakes that can cost you the job? Let’s take a closer look.
1. Not Preparing Questions for the End of the Interview
You absolutely must ask questions at the end of the interview. Trust me, you do not know everything there is to know about the company you are interviewing with or the position. This mistake will make you either come across as extremely cocky or possibly even disinterested.
Instead, jot down a few questions you have about the company so you don’t forget to ask them. More importantly, if there is something the interviewer covers that you wish to know more about, ask them to expand upon it. This is a good way to showcase active listening skills.
2. Talking Smack on a Previous Employer
If you are interviewing for another job, then there may be something that you don’t like about your current or previous employers. But this does not give you permission to talk badly about them.
Trash talking a former boss or company labels you as a complainer. Instead of talking about the terrible things you want to leave behind, prepare a solid alternative answer for the question, “Why are you leaving your current position?” Point out your personal goals instead of harping on the past.
3. Not Doing Your Research about the Company
With the amount of resources at your fingertips there is no excuse to not do your research on a company. And trust me, the interviewer will ask you what you know about their company already, or at the very least, why you want to work for them, which requires knowledge of their industry and company culture.
Failure to do your homework on this level shows that you don’t care enough about the job to even know one or two facts about the company. Additionally, if you can’t prepare for the interview, the company will assume that you won’t be able to prepare for the actual job.
4. Not Admitting a Weakness
Interviews are the time to talk yourself up and point out your skills and strengths. But they are also the time to pinpoint a weakness. Not admitting to one is possibly one of the biggest mistakes that you could make.
You are human! You have faults. Figure out your weakness and talk about how you are working to turn it into a strength. That shows you’re determined and dedicated.
5. Showing Up Late — or Too Early
Showing up late for an interview is unacceptable. The interviewer has taken time out of their day to meet with you personally, so you need to be punctual. Failing to make it to your interview on time shows carelessness and poor time management skills, which don’t make a great first impression.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be too early, either. If you get to your interview 25 minutes or more early, then just wait in your car or walk around outside for a bit. If you were to announce yourself to a receptionist that early, it would look like you have nothing else to do with your time than sit around. It also rushes the interviewer who wasn’t expecting you until later.
6. Not Following the Company on Social Media
As a job seeker you know that your social media profiles need to be cleaned up. But did you know that you should also start following the company you are interviewing with, as well?
Following them shows an interest in the company and what they do. This is also a great way to do your homework on the company, since you can see what they have been up to lately.
7. Forgetting to Follow Up
The interview process does not end when you walk out the door of the company. You must follow up to express gratitude and a continued interest in the position.
Send an interview thank-you letter later on that same day after your meeting via email. At this point, key topics are still fresh in your mind, and this will keep you in the mind of the recruiter, as well.
8. Not Knowing Yourself
You wrote that cover letter and resume to land you the interview, but you should always know the information that you put on it. If an interviewer asks you a question about something on either of these documents, you should be able to respond quickly without much hesitation.
Your work history and skills are part of your life, and you should know yourself better than anyone else. Failing to know who are as a person doesn’t allow the interviewer to see if you will truly be the right fit for the position.
You’ve got a long list of tasks to complete and prepare for before your interview, but if you can avoid these pitfalls, you’ve got a good chance of nailing it!
Photo: Svein Halvor Halvorsen