Whether you’re a recent college grad or a seasoned professional, looking for a new job can be daunting, especially when it comes to the interview. While most of us are at ease in the company of friends, when it’s a job interview, our palms get sweaty, we ramble excitedly, or, worse, we clam up.
As competitive as the job market is, how can you make a good and lasting first impression?
Deborah Ainscough, director of clinical and vocational services for the past 15 years with employee-benefit provider Unum, helps people get back to the work after a long illness or injury. To make the best of a job interview, Ainscough says you should steer clear of these common mistakes:
1. Don’t forget your manners
Minding your manners during an interview may be the difference between landing your dream job and not. Make sure you smile, shake hands and make good eye contact. Being polite and respectful makes a strong first impression and reflects what it will be like to work with you.
2. Don’t dress to distract
Appearance does count. That’s not to say you need to wear a tuxedo or evening gown, but looking good is a great way to make a first impression. Monster has some excellent tips on what to wear based on the career you’re after.
3. Don’t be unprofessional
Be on time. Turn off your phone. Throw away the gum. Don’t throw your old boss or company under the bus. Above all, be genuine. Show your personality and prove you’re the right candidate for the position.
4. Don’t show up unprepared
Have a basic understanding of the company and position for which you’re interviewing. With “Google at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for being uninformed,” she said. Research the job so you can answer questions about the tasks or responsibilities of the position. By preparing beforehand, you show you’re serious about the job.
5. Don’t take over the interview
The interviewer is trying to get to know you, but that doesn’t mean they need to know everything. Listen to what is being asked and provide information specific to the question asked. Don’t hesitate to ask questions yourself, but let the interviewer lead the discussion.
6. Don’t think you’re perfect
No one is. In fact, a lot of companies expect constant personal and professional development from their employees. Most interviewers will be wary of an applicant who doesn’t have any weaknesses, so be honest and admit to areas where you can use a little improvement.
Stay away from these six mistakes and you’re on your way to having a great interview. Want to prepare even more? Check out The Muse, Monster and Career Geek for more tips and resources that’ll help you gain the confidence you need to nail your next interview.