A job interview is like a first date; that first impression is critical in getting you to first base.
Messing it up means you’re not likely to get a call back—no matter how qualified you are. It’s not as if a job interview is difficult, assuming you’re qualified for the job. So why do a lot of people crash and burn?
Most often, it’s because they did one of the following:
They were late. Think late employees annoy bosses? Nothing irritates an interviewer more than a late interviewee. Showing up late sets off alarm bells. No boss wants a laggard for a deadline-driven job. If you come in late for your job interview, don’t be surprised if you’re sent home early. Make sure that you know the best route to get there and that you leave early enough as a hedge against the unexpected, such as heavy traffic.
They were ignorant. You can’t wing a job interview. If you have doubts that you’re qualified, don’t schedule an interview. It’s easy for an interviewer to spot a waffling, diffident candidate. It’s even easier to spot an unqualified one. In an interview, a less-than-qualified candidate will betray his less-than-adequate knowledge of the job sooner rather than later.
They didn’t know the company. If you go to a job interview knowing less than you should about the company you’re applying to, you’re spoiling your chances. It’s good form to know the organization you’re wanting to join; otherwise, you’re bound to ask the interviewer something that you should have known. “So, what exactly do you guys sell?” makes you come across as someone who can’t even be bothered to look at the business website. Do your research and read up on the company before you go to the interview.
They were slovenly. No matter how laid-back the business is, going grunge to an interview will simply not cut it. The slovenly look is not what employers are looking for. You don’t always have to dress up; just make sure you’re neat and tidy.
They were negative. The more you complain about your past job, the smaller your chances of being hired. Although employers look for honesty in their future employees, they don’t take kindly to complainers, whiners, and other purveyors of negativity. Negativity kills team spirit and, thus, productivity. No employer is going to pay you for that. Try to discuss your qualifications and good points instead. Don’t forget to highlight what sets you apart and talk about it with a smile on your face.
They were off-topic. A job interview endeavors to find out if you know enough and have all the attributes to get the job done. If you keep going off on a tangent when you answer the interviewer’s questions, it looks like you don’t have the answer or didn’t understand the question. Or it says you simply want to talk and talk, which at a job interview is pretty much the same as shooting yourself in the foot. The interviewer doesn’t have the time or the inclination to chit chat. So listen to the questions so you can give on-topic, correct answers. If you don’t have the answer to a question, don’t worry about it. Saying “I don’t know” doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as setting off the interviewer’s B.S. detector with a bunch of hot air.