The Top 10 Worst Interview Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making

Let’s cut to the chase: Interviews are hard. Trying to explain all of your life’s achievements in an hour while still trying to make yourself seem like an enjoyable person is difficult.There are probably many tips you have been given about interviews. How to prepare, how to dress, what to say and how to answer the “describe yourself” question are probably obvious at this point. But what about the less obvious flaws in your interview? What about the mistakes you don’t even know you’re making? Well we’re here to help. Here are the top 10 mistakes that you don’t even realize you might be making.

1. Checking your phone
Now this might seem obvious. Nobody wants to hire someone that cannot be bothered to stop texting during an interview. But most graduates of today use their smartphones for more than just texting or calling. You might be sitting in an interview and wonder what time it is. Many go straight for their phones, look at the time on the screen and put their phones back before they’ve even realized they’ve done it. The employer could find this unprofessional or uncaring.
2. Being too “professional”
If you are trying to be on your very best behavior, there’s a chance you could come off too cold and clinical. You need to make sure that you are being positive and acting like your normal self. Acting mostly professional might help you look good in an interview but your potential employer is also looking for someone that would work well with their company culture. They are looking for someone that coworkers would get along with and someone who fits in with their environment.
3. Vocal disfluencies
Vocal disfluencies include using like, um, huh, urm, uh and well, regularly in their speech. These disfluencies might make you look unprepared or nervous. Also watch your speech patterns if you often make every sentence end as if it were a question, speaking too fast or are speaking in other unprofessional manners, you could lose your chance at the position.
4. Too generic
After going to too many interviews, the positions might start sounding the same. You start going in expecting the same questions about the same topics and feel fully prepared to go into each similar interview. This is a problem because businesses expect you to know about their company. If you aren’t able to ask specific questions to their company or pick up on their company culture, they might see it as disinterest. Nobody wants to hire someone who just wants a job. They want to hire someone that likes their industry, their company and gets excited about this opportunity.
5. Negativity
Nobody wants to hear about other people’s drama. If you had a problem with a previous coworker, boss, or professor, keep it to yourself. Talking badly about others make you look unprofessional. Try to speak as positively as you can and move forward in the conversation. Plus an employer would think if you speak badly about a previous boss, there’s nothing to keep you from speaking poorly about them.
6. Using scholastic achievement in place of experience
Now this is what nobody in your high school or college wanted you to know. Businesses take your scholastic achievement seriously. If you did well in school, it shows you have many great skills to put forward. The issue is when you try to make school or extracurricular activities look like experience. It might be great if you were part of an organization that taught you leadership skills, volunteering for a cause and teamwork, but those are skills and do not necessarily take the place of time spent in any corporate environment. If you have never spent time in the industry, it is usually better to be straightforward about your lack of experience. Trying to place your skills that you learned in another environment makes you look even less prepared for the job at hand.
7. Saying you have other offers
The company that hires you wants to be your first choice. Telling them you have other offers might create a feeling of unease. If they interview someone after you who really wants to work with them, they might assume that the next interviewer cares more or has a more likelihood of taking their offer. You should also keep salary concerns to yourself in the first interview. If the company asks you about what you want for your salary, you can politely say that you’d rather not answer the question. Your salary is your business.
8. Not asking questions
If you are asked at the end of your interview if you have any other questions, you should. It makes you look unprepared or uninterested if you don’t have any questions to ask the interviewer. Ask about what a normal day looks like in the position or what some major goals are for the position at hand. You could even say that you can’t think of questions right now, but might have some later and ask whom you should contact.
9. The dreaded question
As the interview is ending and your interviewer asks if you have any other questions. The worst answer you can give is: “Is there any reason you wouldn’t hire me?” This is problematic because it puts the interviewer on the spot asking if you have the position, where it might not be their place to tell you. It makes them uncomfortable and will likely not get you a critical answer.
10. Not saying thank you.
If you don’t make a conscious effort to thank your interviewer after the interviewer, you might miss your chance. Make sure that you shake your interviewer’s hand after the interview and say “Thank you for your consideration” or “Thank you for your time”. You should also write a follow up thank you note. Depending on the company’s culture, this could either be a handwritten note put into the mail or a personalized email that you send shortly after the interview.

For other interview questions and tips, visit our blog!

Interviews and In-Laws

In life there are many instances that you want to present yourself as a competent, intelligent, and well-rounded person. Let’s face it we are not always perfect, however, there are two important times in your life that you must strive to be the best you can be: job interviewing, and meeting the in-laws for the first time. These seemingly opposite experiences actually have a lot in common.

Dress to Impress:
When meeting your in laws for the first time you want to make a good impression, so this means looking respectful. A job interview in similar in this way because the first thing an interviewer will notice about you is if you are dressed appropriately. In both circumstances you want to look nice, but you also want to be comfortable and still be yourself. When interviewing make sure your clothes fit the culture of where you’re applying. For example, if you are applying for a fun creative firm, dress the part, don’t wear a stuffy black suite with a white button up blouse. While on the other hand, if you are applying to a more conservative corporate business firm, then maybe that black suit is the best choice.

Posture & Poise:
In both circumstances it is important to focus on your non-verbal behavior. This means being mindful of facial expressions, hand gestures, and posture. Smile, sit up straight, and maintain eye contact. In both instances the person you are wanting to impress is making sure you are a good fit, whether that means a good fit for their son/daughter, or the job position you are seeking. Non-verbals often reveal the truth about how you feel more than verbal behavior because non-verbals are more difficult to control. Even though you may not like something about what the interviewer says, makes sure that negative expression does not accidentally slip across your face.

Be Grateful:
Even though this may not be your dream job, or those in-laws are not your favorite people in the world, you still need to be grateful of their time. Being grateful in an interview is crucial! Show that you want to be there, and thank them when you shake their hand and walk out the door. It is also important that you follow up after the interview and send them a thank you note, or email, saying how grateful you are for their time, and for getting to know them and the company better.

For more interviewing tips, visit our website.

Interviewing: A Three Step Process

You finally landed an interview for your dream job, now what? The proper interviewing technique can be broken up into a three step process: preparation, presentation, and pursue. Each step is a key ingredient in the recipe for success.

Step One: Preparation:
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is going into an interview unprepared. Know as much as you can about the company, your interviewer, and the position you are applying for. During the interview you will be tested on your knowledge of these subjects, so expect questions such as, “What do you know about our company?” “Tell me why you would be a good fit for this position specifically,” and “How do you see yourself fitting into the company?” If you don’t prepare for your interview, these questions will be almost impossible to answer, and not only does it show you did not prepare, it also seems as though you don’t really care, or you don’t really want the job. During this step, you should research as much as you can about the company, practice interview questions, have two or three intelligent questions to ask your interviewer, and have a professional outfit selected.

Step Two: Presentation:
The time has come, and it’s time for you to present your best self. The key to succeeding in this step is to stay relaxed and be confident! All of that built up anxiety and anticipation will only hold you back if you allow it to. The first component of being successful in this step is the handshake. Make sure it’s a firm handshake, you make eye contact, and don’t forget to smile! When the interviewer is asking questions make sure to sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and speak clearly. If you get stuck on a question, don’t be afraid to pause for a second and collect your thoughts. It is much more impressive to an interviewer that you carefully choose your words, than ramble off the first thing that pops into your head. Finally, don’t forget to ask questions at the end of the interview when you are prompted to. You can even write down a few beforehand, so you don’t forget in the heat of the moment.

Step Three: Pursue
This final step is often taken for granted, or even forgotten. You have made a great impression on the interviewer, but forgetting to follow up, could be your largest mistake. Taking the time to thank your interviewer, or multiple interviewers, shows that you truly care about their time and that you really want the job. Sending a simple thank you email will suffice, however, if you really want to stand out, send a handwritten thank you note on nice stationary to go the extra mile. These responses should be sent out within 24 hours of when you interview, especially if it has to go through snail mail. In your note, or email, make sure you include how much you appreciated them taking the time to speak with you, why you like the company, and reiterate why you would be the right fit for this position.

For more interview tips visit our website!

Self Improvement Month

This month is national Self Improvement Month, which means it is the perfect time to reevaluate your interview habits. Interviews can be an especially daunting part of the job hunting process. Here are some tips that will make your interview less nerve wracking!

Do Your Research

Research will help you look more prepared and interested in the opportunity. Start by researching general interview questions  that you are likely to be asked. Then research the company that has asked you to interview. Knowing information about the company shows you care about this job and the success of this company. This can also help you to gauge the company culture to decide what is best to wear to the interview. Knowing what is appropriate to wear can show that you are a good fit with the other employees. If you are still unsure as to what to wear to the interview, it might be worthwhile to call the office where your interview will take place. Go to sleep a little early so that you are well rested for the interview.

At The Interview

Go to your interview alone, do not take your children or any friends. Bring a copy of your resume to the interview and possibly a notepad in case you want to write down any follow up instruction. Get to the interview on time or 10 minutes early if possible. First thing to remember is to relax. You are prepared so make sure that you look confident, keep eye contact and remember to smile. Make positive and upbeat comments. Talk about what previous work experience you have that would relate to this position. Make sure that your phone is on silent and that you don’t check it during your interview. Never badmouth a previous boss or job, it looks unprofessional.

After the Interview

Make sure that you follow the follow up instructions. Check your email and phone for further information so that you can get back in a timely manner. Make sure to send a thank you note either written by hand or via email (handwritten is preferred most of the time). Thank them for their time and the opportunity they gave you to interview. If you had an obviously unsuccessful interview send a thank you note and ask for feedback on what you could have done better. For more tips like these or information about The Wilson Group, please visit our website or our Facebook.

What To Wear To An Interview

With the new year just around the corner, your job search should be on its way to success! The best way to proceed is to get prepared for your new year interviews. You can do this by researching the company and getting answers ready for some questions about you. For other advice on preparation, look at our first impressions blog. The next best thing is to find an interview outfit. Here are some things to consider when deciding on your look:

Do some research
Look online to see if there are any pictures from an office function to get a look at some possibilities. You can also get a cup of coffee close to the office and check out the attire from there. If you are still lost, you can ask the local professional organization and ask what they would suggest. The best way to ensure you are a good fit at the company is to look like you belong. Dressing similarly to others in the office is a safe and calculated decision.

Choose a solid color
Patterns can be distracting. A better choice is a clean, solid color. This usually looks more flattering on the professional and does not distract. Using a solid color shirt and neutral pants is a very classic look that adds a little personality. Never go too bright with the color choice, but something other than black is preferable.

Try the sit down test
Before going to your interview, try your outfit on the night before. Sit down and make sure everything is tailored appropriately. Make sure the outfit looks modest when sitting or standing. Also, be sure that your accessories add to the outfit. Pick one statement piece and make sure the other jewelry is understated, as not to look too gaudy and distract the interviewer.

We hope these tips help you find your perfect outfit. For more help in finding a position or more tips on job searching and interviewing take a look at our Pinterest boards.

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