How NOT to Ace a Job Interview

How-Not-to-Ace-a-Job-Interview-Staff-Management-SMXAfter weeks of reading through job listings, filling out applications and speaking with recruiters, Jimmy secured a job interview for a position that he was interested in. A week after the interview, he was shocked to find out that the position had been offered to someone else.

For most candidates, the interview can either make or break their chances of advancing through the recruitment process and, ultimately, being offered a job. It’s important to note that there are a few things you can do during an interview to ensure you DON’T get the job. Like Jimmy, for instance.

1) Show up late

Jimmy is a busy guy! Something came up on the day of his interview and he knew he was running behind. Instead of calling the recruiter and letting them know he would not be able to make his scheduled interview time, Jimmy came in about 30 minutes late.

What’s wrong with this? When agreeing on an interview time, you are making a commitment—meaning that you must make sure there will be no conflicts. That being said, unforeseeable things can happen! If something does come up, always let the recruiter know that there is a chance you will be late. Not only is this thought of as a professional courtesy, but the recruiter may suggest an alternative interview time that would work better for you.

2) Dress to un-impress

All of Jimmy’s friends say he is the “realest” guy they know because of his casual, laid-back attitude. For the interview, Jimmy thought it would be a good idea to wear an outfit that represents who he is—so he wore a sports jersey and blue jeans.

What’s wrong with this? A job interview should always be thought of as a time to present your best, most professional self. Even if Jimmy is very laid back, showing up to an interview in casual clothing could lead the recruiter to believe he doesn’t take the opportunity seriously. Remember, it is better to overdress than to underdress. If you are ever unsure, there are many resources online that can help you decide what to wear to your next interview.

3) Have a bad attitude from the start

Because he was running late, Jimmy came into the interview flustered and in a bad mood. When greeted at the front door by a receptionist, she got the impression that he was rude and unfriendly. When the hiring manager asked the receptionist how Jimmy seemed when he came in, she reported her observations.

What’s wrong with this? Even though the receptionist wasn’t interviewing Jimmy, first impressions are everything. From the minute you walk into the building you should bring your A-game. Be polite to everyone you meet, even if you think they may not have any influence on the results of your interview (chances are, they do).

4) Minimally prepare

The night before his interview, Jimmy read the job description a few times and briefly looked at the company’s website. He was confident he knew everything there was to know about the position. At the end of the interview, the recruiter asked Jimmy if he had any questions. Jimmy replied, “Nope, all good.”

What’s wrong with this? Always come prepared with a few questions to ask at the end of your interview. Asking questions will show that you are engaged in the conversation and that you put a lot of thought into obtaining the position. It also displays your commitment to learning more about the company. The more thoughtful the questions, the more impressed the recruiter will be.

5) Forget to say, “thank you”

At the end of the interview, the recruiter shook Jimmy’s hand, thanked him for stopping by and said he would follow up within a week. Jimmy replied with, “Sounds good; I’ll talk to you later,” and left. He did not follow up after that.

What’s wrong with this?  At the end of every interview, it is important to thank the interviewer for their time. Additionally, it is a best practice to send a thank you email (or even a handwritten note) following your interview. Some recruiters report that if they do not receive a thank you, the candidate is automatically eliminated.

It probably comes as no surprise that Jimmy was not offered the position. When you’re on the job hunt, remember that being courteous, engaged and prepared goes a long way. So, next time you are invited to come in for a job interview, don’t act like Jimmy!

Now that you know what NOT to do, learn how to ace the interview process with the tips in our blog, “6 Steps to Becoming a Top Candidate.”